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Brie Stark's picture

Just Thoughts

Throughout this week’s discussion, which was very interesting in considering neurons on a level that I had not thought about before, I had several questions come to mind.  In the beginning of the class, we discussed the vague notion that brain = behavior.  While I took this to be a satisfactory thought, I didn’t understand the complicated inner-workings of the equation.  Throughout the discussion of the differences in brains of differing species, especially those of mammalian brains with a neocortex, I found that it was easy to accept the notion that brain does equal behavior.  However, we then brought individuals of the same species into the question, which was where I would have to add a bit to the equation.  It would make more sense to me, and seem a bit more pinpointed and thorough, if instead we said that neuron architecture = behavior, in relation to organisms of the same species.  Because the brains of the organisms have the same overall structure and only the neuron patterns differ, this seems logically superior. 

Also, humoring the notion that most creatures evolved from a common primordial ‘goop,’ I have to wonder if the common ancestor once possessed a neocortex which was selected against in all other organisms except mammals.  I wonder if a vestigial neocortex could’ve been found in reptiles upon their immediate creation, and if that neocortex faded in time because of lack of need or environmental changes.  This would definitely pose many questions on whether behaviors have changed over time because of this.  In the terms of human evolution, it is also interesting how our neocortex—which has probably developed to a larger state over the time of evolution—began to increase in its mass and its functions.           

In the beginning, no doubt that neuron architecture did equal behavior—but it is interesting to think that, because the human race has evolved so much (as far as we know), the neurons and the brain have likewise evolved, creating new behaviors.  I wonder if the overall structure of the neuron has itself changed over time, like that of the brain.  If so, perhaps we could have a more direct link to understanding the behaviors of our past ancestors if we could somehow coordinate this evolutionary change and determine the structure of the primordial neuron of the human.

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