Have you ever thought about what makes you, you? Good morning/afternoon teachers judges and fellow students, today I’m going to talk about, explain, and hopefully dispel some things that you may have thought about this control panel of your body called the cerebrum, more commonly known as the brain, more specifically the human brain.
First I will start with what it is, the human brain is the centre of our nervous system and the most complex organ in our body. The brain is made up of about 86 billion brain cells. The brain has 4 lobes, the occipital lobe, the frontal lobe, the parietal lobe, the temporal lobe and also has a cerebellum and a brain stem. There are more specific parts I can talk about but I don’t want to bore all of you with that. The brain is also the most important organ in our body because it’s responsible for our thoughts, feelings, memories, and, well, your general motor skills like moving.
The brainstem is responsible for breathing, heart rate, blood pressure, our circadian rhythms and many other things we aren’t quite conscious about. This is the reason why when you have a spinal injury it can be fatal and you must seek medical help. Have you ever heard of the term ‘brain dead’ or ‘vegetable’? well these terms essentially mean that the brain no longer functions properly, the person can still be alive after being ‘diagnosed’ as ‘brain dead’ but needs lots of medical care to do so.
Use of Brain
Now, have you ever heard that you use only 10% of your brain, well that is, absolutely wrong. No scientific study has ever claimed that we only use 10% of our brains, it is an urban myth which likely came from a misunderstanding from a book from philosopher William James where he said ‘We are making use of only a small part of our possible mental and physical resources’. Another misconception about our brains is that you or someone else is more left-brained which means you are more logical or someone is more right-brained which means that you are more creative but this just isn’t true.
It is true that you use one side for different things, for example, empathy, language, etc, however, there have been many studies which debunk the myth that one side of the brain is more dominant than the other. Now, this is something that you probably have heard from an adult, and it’s that alcohol kills brain cells, some of you, especially the adults, are probably looking at me like, ‘what is he saying’? but bear with me. Alcohol doesn’t necessarily ‘kill’ brain cells, it does, however, do damage to the brain cells and interferes with the connections between brain cells but this damage done is mostly reversible.
Now I will talk to you about why we can build computers, cars, planes, T.V’s, and phones, while animals can’t figure out how to make a decent cup of coffee. Don’t get me wrong, many animals are highly intelligent and some are possibly smarter than humans but we just don’t quite understand their behaviours because we do not act like them. We are still highly intelligent creatures, possibly the most, but we can’t say that for sure until we can understand why they do what they do. Firstly, one of the reasons we can do what we do is because of our brains, while not the biggest, are big in proportion to our body size making up 1/50 lbs which are 2% of our body mass while the sperm whale brain, which has the largest mammal brain, makes up 1/333 lbs which are less than 1% of the sperm whales mass. Another reason is because of our invention, understanding, and use of tools and things of that nature such as the wheel, and electricity., it’s because of those things that we can make incredible things like a motor.
We also have highly developed cognitive functions like memory, problem-solving, and understanding of others, not to say that other animals don’t have these things, it’s just that, to our given knowledge, we have a more developed form of these functions. That fact ties into this final reason and it’s something called natural selection, which you may or may not have heard of. Natural selection is when a species evolves and adapts to changes in the environment, making for a stronger species which kills off the animals that hadn’t evolved to live in the new environment. What I’m saying is that human brains have evolved past other mammal brains to be able to do and understand things that other animals can’t.
Our brain is amazing and incredibly complex but it’s not the only one that is. There is much to learn about it still, we know this because one of the hardest to understand things that we know about our brain is that we don’t know all there is to know about it. The more we learn about our brain, the more we might learn about other animal brains to see who is the smartest species. We’ll just have to wait until then, only time will tell. Thank you all for listening to me ramble on about the human brain.