Nature Meets Nurture: Using Neo-Phrenology and Connectomics Combined to Understand The Difference of A Musician's Brain To a Non-Musician's Brain

From Eyewire
Revision as of 15:41, 9 October 2012 by Claireoconnell (Talk | contribs)

Jump to: navigation, search

Nature Meets Nurture: Using Neo-Phrenology and Connectomics Combined To Understand The Difference of A Musician’s Brain To A Non-Musician Danielle Mathis

Human curiosity has led to many hypotheses regarding the reason for human existence. All of nature's creations are beautifully and wonderfully made, the human species being the most complex of them all. We have answered many questions on the way the world works. However, we still have a million questions to go. We know we were given the best gift, which is the human brain. How does this complex gift determine our role in life, though? How does it make us different? That is the question that strikes me. The topic I will discuss was chosen because I believe it is amazing to me how ones experiences can affect their identity. Sebastian Seung explains this in a more logical format in his book. I like to think of life in three parts because three is a magical number. Also, it takes three studies to follow to understand our complex life. Using the combination of genomics, phrenology, and connectomics, we can logically explain how we develop our own identity. These three components shape who we are and what we do. “It’s where nature meets nurture”, says Sebastian Seung a man dedicated to this topic. Life affects every person differently. Therefore, we are different. That is the nurturing. We live and learn. We adapt and adjust. Eric Turkheimer’s first law of behavior genetics states, “All human traits are heritable”. However, the third one recognizes, “A substantial proportion of the variation in the complex human behavioral traits is not accounted for by the effects or genes of families. Therefore, what we do in life is not solely based upon our DNA. We contain much more that sculpts us into who we are and what we do. Our genes begin as our pre-identity. Then, we are faced with environmental influences. That is where we can use phrenology and connectomics to have a better understanding. Franz Joseph Gall looked at the configuration of brains of different people. He believed the mental “disposition” is correlated with the size of the corresponding cortical region. He discovered that cortical regions related to a person’s profession could be proportionally larger than normal. In these areas of the brain, they are more likely to gradually increase its number of synapses, which are the wires of the nervous system. More synapses are more like to create more connections. Therefore, the region of brain utilized the more creates more pathways in the connectome. The concentrated paths in part of your brain correlate to your path in life. The nervous system connects the synapse that pertains to your personal thoughts, personal activities, personal issues, and etc. Different people specialize in different subjects. Some people are musically inclined. Some people are great at math. Phrenology can illustrate to us what makes us different from other people with other occupations by showing a person strengths in certain areas. A study compared how musicians’ brains compare to non-musicians’ brains. In science paper, Increased Cortical Representation of the Fingers of the Left Hand in String Players, their procedure was as follows: 2012 “Nine musicians (six violinists, two cellists, and one guitarist) who had played their instruments for a mean period of 11.7 year (range, 7 to 17 years) served as subjects for this study. Six non- musicians served as controls. The mean age for both groups was 24 3 years. Before the investigation, the musicians kept a diary for 1 week, recording the amount of time practiced per day (mean 9.8 8.4 hours per week), and had estimated the amount of time spent practicing during the previous month and year (10.8 ± 8.8 hours per week).” Using fMRI, this study has shown enlargement of the left-hand representation of musicians of the phrenology chart. The cerebral cortex of musicians is larger than those of non-musicians. This is similar to how Einstein’s inferior parietal lobes, relating to mathematics and spatial reasoning, were enlarged. This was part of the brain was used for his occupation. The strict practice of string players causes this area to become enlarged. They utilize this part of the brain most frequently. More likely this area is highly condensed with synapse connections. The picture to the right shows the area affected in musicians. This study actually makes it easier to understand why people are naturally talented in an area or develop competence with practice. It can show the strengths and weaknesses of each person. However, there are limitations towards this work. We cannot determine each connectome just yet so we can understand what operates this talent or skill. We only can pin point it. We lack the technology for accurate remapping. Therefore, the changes in this area are not accurately updated. The more we can advance our technologies in connectome readings, we can finally piece the extremely convoluted three part puzzle together. If we understand the way we work, we can finally solve the way people develop different disorders and diseases. The way to solve them is to understand us. Using the Darwanistic view of survival of the fittest, we can eventually find a way to trigger our brain to ignoring and eliminating these disorders and diseases. I believe we brainwash the brain into making us capable of anything. I am talking about neuroenhancement If we can make the brain strong enough to resist these attacks we can change the health of the world for good. We can use this to make us healthier and better.

Works Cited Books Seung, Sebastian. (2012). Connectome: How the brian's wiring makes us who we are. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Journals Elbert, Thomas. (1995). Increased cortical representation of the. 270, Retrieved from Pinker, Steven. (1999). His brain measured up. In Retrieved from Turkheimer, Eric. (2000). Three laws of behavior genetics and what they mean. Current Directions in Physcological Science, 9(5), 160-164. Retrieved from