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Why is the prefrontal cortex defined as the seat of humanity?

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Broadly speaking, the human brain is a computer that interprets inputs from outside world and turns them into visions and ideas by using its own imaginary templates to compare the old vision and the new vision produced by the human brain itself. In that case, again broadly speaking, the human brain uses inextricable bonds and pathways between its subdivided parts – Amygdala, Hippocampus, Cerebellum, Thalamus, Cerebral cortex and The prefrontal cortex e.g. – nonetheless the human brain has always been thought as rather than the sum of the parts.

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Figure - 29.1

Although the human brain is a convoluted mechanism and needed to be explained in its all functions and parts included to make it as coherent as it can be, I wanted to focus on its one tiny but oppositely important part in this article, called the prefrontal cortex, and it is the most inscrutable area of the brain especially when talking about having a personality. Oddly, the profound impact of the prefrontal cortex on the human brain was apprehended in its absence by a malfunction and damage in the well-known Phineas Gage case, but why has it long been regarded as the seat of humanity? The prefrontal cortex evaluates the information came from the outside world, yielded by sense organs and the other parts of the human brain in collaboration with the nervous system. Regardless of the medium, it interprets this data and, as a feedback, gives us the most quintessential attributes such as empathy, ambition, foresight, a sense of morality and a complex personality as a human being. In other words, the prefrontal cortex overwrites the outside input and data processed by our so-called reptile brain and creates a groundbreaking state of information produced in the brain, that no animal would do like us. In that regard, the prefrontal cortex, recursively, defines our behavior and morality by learning from examples and events and, in a way, makes who we are. In conclusion, which is why the prefrontal cortex has long regarded as the seat of humanity.

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Figure - 29.2


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Figure - 29.3


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Figure - 29.4

Despite the fact that there are more raising and unanswered questions as to how the prefrontal cortex is capable of managing to operate the most quintessential attributes emphasized above, it is undoubtedly known that the prefrontal cortex manages to orchestrate such a sophisticated and elusive suite of functions(1), because of the experiments on the patients that have a damaged prefrontal cortex. As V. S. Ramachandran wrote in The Tell-Tale Brain(2);

“…Cases of prefrontal damage are especially distressing to relatives. Such a patient seems to lose all interest in his own future and he shows no moral compunctions of any kind. He may laugh at a funeral or urinate in public. The great paradox is that he seems normal in most respects: his language, his memory, and even his IQ are unaffected. Yet he has lost many of the most quintessential attributes that define human nature: ambition, empathy, foresight, a complex personality, a sense of morality, and a sense of dignity as a human being.”
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Figure - 29.5

References

(1) Ramachandran, V. S. "No Mere Ape." The Tell-Tale Brain: A Neuroscientist's Quest for What Makes Us Human. New York: W.W. NORTON & COMPANY, 2012. 21. Print.

(2) Ramachandran, V. S. "No Mere Ape." The Tell-Tale Brain: A Neuroscientist's Quest for What Makes Us Human. New York: W.W. NORTON & COMPANY, 2012. 21. Print.

Figure - 29.1 https://askabiologist.asu.edu/sites/default/files/resources/articles/nervous_journey/brain-anatomy.gif

Figure - 29.2 https://en.wikiversity.org/wiki/File:Prefrontal_cortex_(left)_-_lateral_view.png

Figure - 29.3 https://www.neuroscientificallychallenged.com/blog/2014/5/16/know-your-brain-prefrontal-cortex

Figure - 29.4 https://teddybrain.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/gage-skull.png

Figure - 29.5 https://nation.com.pk/18-Nov-2015/all-human-actions-are-influenced-by-the-deep-seated-moral-thinking-of-the-person




1 ) Foundational Concepts in Neuroscience: A Brain-Mind Odyssey