Evolution of the Primate Brain: Size Is Just a Start

Originally posted in Psychology Today, September 21, 2018

In the last post, we left off with the knowledge that human brains grow for longer into adulthood compared to chimp brains. But why would that matter? Turns out, that time allows for increased development of structures and tissues that may underlie our uniquely-human traits.

Let’s start with the prefrontal cortex.

Our prefrontal cortex is the region of our brain located just behind our forehead, involved in higher order cognitive functions, including but not limited to decision making, planning, fine motor skills, and abstract thinking.

Phineas Gage: A brain trauma case study

Maybe you first learned about the prefrontal cortex through the story of Phineas Gage, a railroad foreman who, in 1848, had a tamping iron—a long rod he was using to pack explosive powder into a hole, a few feet long and about an inch in diameter—penetrate through his left cheek and out through his skull, tearing through his prefrontal cortex.

Continued in Psychology Today…

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