Covering nearly 450 pages, zoology professor Matthew Cobb, in his new book, A Brief History of the Brain, traces the history of biological theories about the brain and thought.
In a report published by the French newspaper "Le Monde", writer Elizabeth Berteau said that Matthew Cobb, professor of zoology at the University of Manchester, highlighted in his latest book 500 years of studies on the brain in an interesting way. reader's attention.
Humans have long considered the heart the seat of thought and emotions (Shutterstock)
Talk about the heart
Matthew Cope begins his book by talking about the heart, noting that humans have long considered this organ the seat of thought and emotions.
The author noted that these scientific concepts have left traces in the common language, where we are used to saying phrases such as "I memorize" and "break hearts".
According to Aristotle, the heart produced a soul carried by blood, suggesting the ventricular theory in psychology.
During the 17th century, Rene Descartes, after many brain anatomy, stated that the body of animals acts as a machine and in which the brain plays an essential role, but that humans differ from them in possessing a soul and language.
Animal and machine theory was followed by other analogies, such as the brain clock, the telegraph, the computer, and many more stimulating discoveries, but it shows “above all, the plasticity of our brains,” as the writer puts it.
Cobb spoke about unknown brain activity in 15 chapters under the short but explicit headings of "heart", "forces", "electricity", "function", "development", "inhibition", "neurons", "consciousness" and "the future".
Henri Bergson concluded that thought does not reside in the brain (Shutterstock)
The more research progressed, the more surprised we were
Matthew Cobb asserts that scientists do not yet fully understand how the 90 billion neurons, 100 million synapses, billions of glia, etc., function in the brain.
In 1883, Henri Bergson said that "if thought is located, we can dissect it and obtain it with the point of a scalpel" before concluding that "thought does not reside in the brain".
Today, scientists have been able to describe only 70% of the neural network, which is the complete blueprint for the connections "10,000 neurons in the larva brain," and this, according to the author, "gives an idea of how much more needs to be done before understanding the human brain."
Using recent clinical descriptions, Matthew Cobb explained that the more research progressed, the more we were amazed at how flexible the brain was, which is why he rejects the idea that the brain is organized into independent units like hardware components.
Neurons and neural networks are interconnected and can influence neighboring regions by altering their electrical activity and gene expression.
Thus, functions can be deactivated or activated by a complex of synapses and neuromodulators.
The phenomena of plasticity make it difficult to pinpoint the exact location of any brain function.
There is still no consensus on how the brain produces consciousness (Shutterstock)
The writer reported that hundreds of books have dealt with the subject of the biological basis of consciousness, with 16,000 scientific articles containing the phrase "consciousness" in their title, but there is still no consensus on how the brain produces consciousness.
Despite the very important technological innovations - in the words of Cope - the two big questions that are still under discussion and research relate to local or distributed activity, and the importance of the physical connections to consciousness.