Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Primitive brain is 'smarter' than we think, MIT study shows

Primitive brain is 'smarter' than we think, MIT study shows - MIT News Office

Primitive structures deep within the brain may have a far greater role in our high-level everyday thinking processes than previously believed, report researchers at the MIT Picower Center for Learning and Memory in the Feb. 24 issue of Nature.

The results of this study led by Earl K. Miller, associate director of the Picower Center at MIT, have implications about how we learn. The new knowledge also may lead to better understanding and treatment for autism and schizophrenia, which could result from an imbalance between primitive and more advanced brain systems.

Our brains have evolved a fast, reliable way to learn rules such as 'stop at red' and 'go at green.' Dogma has it that the 'big boss' lobes of the cerebral cortex, responsible for daily and long-term decision-making, learn the rules first and then transfer the knowledge to the more primitive, large forebrain region known as the basal ganglia, buried under the cortex."

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