Brain Myth – Enlightening

Your brain “lights up” . . . not

Areas of your brain don’t “light up” or suddenly become active in response to events in the world. “This is an incorrect view of brain activity that dates back to a 1952 study of  a piece of a brain cell from a dead giant squid!”

The giant squid specimen preserved in a block of ice at the Melbourne Aquarium

No human brain cell is ever dormant or switched off. Your whole brain is active all the time. Particular neurons may fire at faster and slower rates, but they’re always in a flurry of activity, dashing off thousands of predictions of what you might encounter next and preparing your body to deal with it. This constant storm of predictions, which scientists call intrinsic brain activity, ultimately produces everything you think, feel, or perceive.”

Lisa Feldman Barrett, PhD, is a University Distinguished Professor of Psychology at Northeastern University, with appointments at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital in Psychiatry and Radiology. She received an NIH Director’s Pioneer Award for her research on emotion in the brain, and most recently the 2018 APS Mentor Award For Lifetime Achievement. “How Emotions are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain” is her first book.

March 12-18, 2018 is Brain Awareness Week (BAW) is a nationwide effort organized by the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives and the Society for Neuroscience to promote the public and personal benefits of brain research.




4 comments on “Brain Myth – Enlightening

  1. Thank you for this info from learned scientists. Neuroscience is a large field and quickly growing. It fascinates me. Our brain can increase its capacity by stimulation and learning.
    Learning new languages, music, …a multitude of activities will wake up areas that might lay – if not dormant – lazy. 😊


    • Learning actually grows the brain-new little branches develop from dendrites to link to each other. Learning, exercise and SSRIs (depression medication) all stimulate this growth. So you can have a “bigger” (or denser) brain :-).


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