Anatomy of the brain, Biology

In order to be able to study the neural basis of perceptual and cognitive functions, it is necessary to have some knowledge of brain anatomy (i.e., what the names of different brain structures/areas are and where they are located with respect to one another), as cognitive neuroscience literature is to a large extent grounded on associating specific types of cognitive and perceptual functions and their constituent processes with various anatomical structures. Learning brain anatomy is made more complicated than what it could otherwise be due to certain brain areas having multiple names. For instance, the brain area that processes visual information can be called the primary visual cortex, striate cortex, and V1. Furthermore, in some cases there is disagreement on where the boundaries of different areas are. For instance, the most anterior tip of the brain called frontal pole is by some definitions just the very tip, and according to other definitions a relatively large part of, the frontal part of the brain. The reasons for this are partly historical with scientists using different samples and techniques arriving at slightly different definitions.

Indeed, what needs to be borne in mind is that two brains are structurally never identical. Even identical twins exhibit differences in brain structure, especially in gyral patterns (Bartley et al., 1997). Localization of function to anatomy is even more variable, than anatomical variability, across individuals. Furthermore, one needs to be cautious when anatomical structures are compared across species, as there are substantial functional and structural differences even though many of the structures carry identical names. In order to learn the basic terminology of brain anatomy, it is first necessary to learn the coordinate system(s) that are used in defining the loci of various brain structures.
Posted Date: 7/7/2012 6:47:22 AM | Location : United States

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