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The Social Brain
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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
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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
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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
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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
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