The Social Brain Essay

This essay has a total of 2923 words and 13 pages.

The Social Brain



The Social Brain: Giuliani 2
The ability of humans to learn and retain knowledge is an incredible power source and also
a dominant characteristic of the human species. The intricate abilities of the mind allow
for humans to learn skills and to have the power to control and dominate the world they
live in by means of learned behavior. The two cerebral hemispheres of the left and right
specialize in motor and sensory skills which specialize the socialy established beliefs
and behaviors unique to humans. In writing The Social Brain Michael Gazzaniga proclaims
an understanding of the principle of both the right and left brain hemispheres by
examining split brain patients. Gazzaniga believes in cognitive dissidence and studies the
modularity of the brain structure. The modularity is the independent functional traits
that contribute to the skills and tools of language and writing. The contribution of
individual modules is evident in the perception of a human belief system and the evolution
of the sophisticated civilized life of a human being. The two cerebral sides of the brain
operate with their own selective areas of domination, but depend on eachother for
reference, information, and influence which yields continuation of human evolution of
increasing brain activities.

Michael Gazzaniga writes chronologically as he studies the aspects of a split brain and
the distinct behavior that humans have developed unique cognitive styles and the brain
modules allow them for infer and differentiate . Gazzaniga believes that the “free will”
of humans allows the species to choose and control their environment. The progress of his
studies of the split brain, is by isolating the separate hemispheres to see if one
influences the other. The interests of his studies of the effect of the sensory abilities
of both the right and left hemisphere takes him around the world. The course of the book
covers the studies of a lifetime from an inquiring student about the possibilities of a
full functioning split brain, to an established professor with a belief in a cognitive
theory. Gazzaniga introduces the structure of the brain and a foundation of the function
and place in the evolution of the present human being. Through documented

The Social Brain: Giuliani 3
experiments, Gazzangia attempts to isolate the left hemisphere of the brain to examine the
power of the modules and the importance of the capability of humans to infer and
comprehend a variety of information.

Gazzangia uses trial and error experiments of stimuli and response to test his hypothesis
of the split brain. A brain can only be changed at an early age by altering physical
properties of the brain drastically changed. A split brain is defined by the physical
separation of the two cerebral hemispheres that may translate into drastic differences
both social and psychologically. The split brain procedure “consisted in cutting the two
main bundles of nerve fibers... the corpus callosum and the anterior commissure”
(Geschwind, 181). Modules that reside in the right and left hemisphere are a complex
neural system that have a particular function, that can be endlessly modified and respond
to environmental affects. The genetic control of the brain determines in advance the
properties and abilities of the brain. Gazzangia wished to study the way a brain organizes
the information into the separate left and right hemispheres. By observing modules, he saw
how certain traits of a human took action in the evolutionary scheme.

Brain characteristics unique to humans are a distinctive trait of the individualism and
powerful knowledge of the evolution of modern man, homo sapiens sapiens. A key brain
structure is the corpus callosum a necessary part of human evolution and communication
skills as information needs a structure to help transfer the information between the two
hemispheres of the right brain and the left. The corpus callosum transfers the information
so that the human being has greater knowledge and is able to communicate with others. The
structure of teh anterior commissure isolates the two different brain hemispheres and
breaks the union the corpus collosum had created. This behavior is observed under a split
brain surgery when the hemispheres become isolated. Studies preformed isolating the
learning process to only one hemisphere of the brain showed the relation of dependence to
the other brain. When split brain surgery is preformed

The Social Brain: Giuliani 4
it leaves the patient emotional, psychological, stable and general behavior is left un harmed unknown to the patient.
The neocortex contains the separations of the two brain’s hemisphere amounting for half
the entire volume of the brain. The structure is composed of two key elements: one
controls the motor senses while the other part controls the sensory abilities of the
human being. The two key areas dominate human behavior and belief in each the left and
right hemisphere. The sensory cortex includes the function and controls the perception of
the five senses. It includes the olfactory, visual, auditory, systems and is located on
the left hemisphere of the brain (Zhilman, 47). The sensory motor functions of human
beings is control primarily by the right hemisphere of the brain. The evolution of the
sensory motor strips is associated with the skills and manipulation of the five sense by
modifications in behavior, and the creation and use of tools.

The comprehension and origination of the brain crosses over from observance to the
translation of the meaning of the object observed by the opposite side of the brain. The
left visual field is perceived and comprehended by the right visual cortex crossing over
dominant the other side of the body. Just as the right visual field is transmitted and
translated to the left visual cortex. The cross over of the transference of information
can often get confused, and information can be lost. The right visual field correlates for
the behavior occurring of the dominancy of being right handed which is controlled by the
sensory modules of the left hemisphere.

Within the left hemisphere there are distinctive areas dominated by the Limbic system
which allow a human being to infer information and reflect upon it. In the Limbic region,
the Broca’s area and Wernicke’s area are found unique only to homo sapiens. The Wernicke’s
area is the key to language and speech, the source of comprehension . The evolution of
this brain area acts as the important structure to increase communication and inference of
human beings. The dominance of the left hemisphere increased rapidly due to these two
specific regions. As the

The Social Brain: Giuliani 5
species evolved verbal ability was a dominant trait with control and specialization of
skillls. With this advanced control of speech and the comprehensive ability of the homo
sapiens to reflect and reason by cognitive ability. The greater use of this unique trait
of sophisticated speech became a source in building stronger, more complex relationships
with other individuals in the species.

The Limbic system uses the brain as an evolutionary tool to develop belief and behavior
rooted in control of the emotions and senses. The importance for a species dependent on
maternal care, nursing, and taking care of infants comes from the dominance of the Limbic
system of the brain. The Limbic system includes brain areas already mentioned Broca’s and
Wernicke’s. The key aspect of vocalization is traced to hominid behavior of maternal
attention, and social unity of a separation call. The vocal element is key in building a
community based on the understanding of language and speech. Vocalization has existed
among primates for years, however it is the unique ability of a hominid to translate,
understand and give specific meaning to vocals.

The evolution of the increased capabilities of the left brain is translated through
dominant language behavior increased by social interaction between humans. There was a
drastic change in the inherited social practice of living a small group or community.
Communication between individuals increased and the behavior of the humans changed. Larger
social groups began to form.

The importance of building community is easily understood by maternal care and the strength of the family.
The evolution of man shows clear brain differences between species as the complexities of
the brain evolve to be more structurally advanced. The evolution of early man, beginning
with homo erectus, displays different brain functions. The first major brain differences
was in the vascularization of the the cranium of homo erectus. Since homo erectus walked
upright the human

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needed more circulation of blood, The oxygen that followed to his brain allow the hominid
to better manage as a new species in the environment. Emissary veins helped drain the
blood from the bran cooling the brain due to access heat. (Bower) This brain blood
drainage increased the circulation of blood in the homo erectus’ body. The social
characteristic of homo erectus were also unique, as he realized the “environment could be
controlled for personal improvement” (Gazzaniga, 149). This was evident in the new nomadic
behavior of hunters and gathers as populations behavior become more nomadic

As a hominid continued to evolve the Neanderthal played an important role in the changes
Continues for 7 more pages >>




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