The scientific study of the nervous system is called Neuroscience. However, there are a lot of common misconceptions about the functioning of the brain. It is often difficult separate brain facts from fiction once these myths take hold in the public consciousness. Lisa Feldman Barrett, a neuroscientist at the Northeastern University is of the belief that it is high time to correct these myths. Much of what we read about the brain is riddled with myths or fiction, or simply outdated science.
One of the famous myths is the idea of our lizard brain. This theory of brain evolution became popular in the 1970s with the publication of Carl Sagan’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book The Dragons of Eden. According to the theory, the only difference between humans and other vertebrate animals is the existence of these newest layers of our brain that allowed humans to make rational, intelligent decisions. Through the course of evolution, our little lizard brain was enveloped in a more sophisticated but ancient cortex, the limbic system, which is the source of our emotions.
Barrett comments, “Scientists have known since at least the 1970s that the idea of a lizard brain is a fiction of neuroscience. The problem here is that is takes 10, 20, sometimes 50 years before discoveries in science make it to the public”.
Hence, Barrett is working on a book, Seven Insights About the Brain to correct the record. It will comprise seven short essays, each containing critical information that may not be well-known about the way we understand who we are as humans. The book can be read in a couple hours and you will get deep insights about the human brain that are based on the most up-to-date understanding. Barrett says, “These insights might lead you to reconsider the kind of creature you really are”.
Shahjadi Jemim Rahman