How does the brain work?
Basic answers to this question and many others are available in a short article, Your Incredible Shrinking Cortex, published in Michigan Today, a publication of the University of Michigan (U-M). The article’s author, Claudia A. Capos, interviews Thad Polk, a U-M Professor of Psychology, about the brain and how it ages, the professor’s research topic for more than 15 years.
The entire article is worth reading, but here are five broad takeaways.
- Our brains have two kinds of intelligence — crystallized, which involves what we know and how we use that knowledge, and fluid, which involves how we think, observe, and solve problems.
- The pre-frontal cortex is the manager of the brain, exerting executive control and supervising high-level thinking and mental tasks.
- The cortex usually shrinks a bit as we age.
- Evidence increasingly shows that the brain tries to compensate for some of the decline that people experience as they age. As they age, people may activate parts of the brain that younger people don’t use.
- Even as parts of the brain become less efficient with age, with age also comes wisdom. This is because of the expansive accumulated knowledge that we store in our brains.
You’ll learn much more from this article, including detailed explanations of the above five points. Check it out!
A Few of My Past Posts on the Brain