Mind and Brain - Is There a Difference?
Instructor Brianne Larsen
The brain is the most complex organ of the human body; scientists still have many unanswered questions about it. One question is are the mind and the brain the same entity or are they separate entities within a person’s head? It is undisputed that the actions of the mind are within the brain. But are the actions of the mind only neurological impulses sent between neurons within the brain or is the mind something more? There are two theories that will be focused upon concerning the mind/brain arguments, dualism and monism. The explanation of the functionality of the mind and brain, along with the theories of monism and dualism, will possibly help to find the answer to the question, is there a difference to mind and brain, or are they the same. The brain is an organ that the human body cannot function without. While it is possible to live without a brain, it is not possible to live a healthy life without a brain. Without a brain or brain function one is merely “vegetable”, a living organization without the capabilities of thought or thought process. It is the hub that controls body functions, senses, processes information, and stores memory. The brain has many sections; each is responsible for a different function. The brain is divided into three major sections; the Hindbrain, the Midbrain, and the Forebrain. The Hindbrain is comprised of the spinal cord, the lower part of the brain stem, and the cerebellum. This portion of the brain controls the vital functions of breathing, heart rate, and learned bodily movements. The Midbrain is comprised of the upper part of the brain stem and it controls some of the reflexive actions, eye movement, and motor functions. The Forebrain is the largest and most developed part of the brain, also known as the Cerebrum. The Cerebrum is covered in a 1.5mm to 5 mm layer which is called a cortex. This cortex is also known as “gray matter” for the color, which appears gray because of the lack of insulation of the nerves that lie within. The more folds in the brain increase the amount of “gray matter” which increases the amount of information that can be processed. The Cerebrum along with this thin layer is known as the Cerebral Cortex, which is divided into two halves, or hemispheres, that communicate through nerves that connect within the base of the crevice between the hemispheres. The hemispheres cross control the part of the body, for example, the left hemisphere controls the right side and the right hemisphere controls the left side of the body. (NINDS, 2010) Each cerebral hemisphere is divided into sections, or lobes; the Frontal lobe, the Parietal lobes, Occipital lobes, and the Temporal lobes. The Frontal lobes are located behind the forehead and are divided into three sections, the prefrontal cortex, the premotor cortex, and the motor area. The prefrontal cortex is responsible for memory storage, reasoning, judgment, and other high order functions. It gives someone the ability to store short term memories while allowing the other thoughts to be considered. The premotor and motor sections control voluntary muscle movements. The Parietal lobes are located behind the Frontal lobes. They are involved in sensory processing, spatial orientation, information processing, visual perception, and speech. Behind the Parietal lobes, in the back of the head, are the Occipital lobes. The Occipital lobes are responsible for visual perception, they process the images that are seen through the eyes and link them to the information that is stored in the short term memory. They also assist with the color recognition from the images seen through the eyes. Damage sustained to the Occipital lobe may render the individual permanently blind. The temporal lobes lie behind the eyes beneath the Parietal lobes and the Frontal lobes. These lobes process the information received from the ears. They are also...
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