November 01, 2011
Highly Connected Upper Class Parts Of Brain Identified

Well connected parts of the brain form a sort of insiders club where the rest of the brain is less well connected. Like brain like society?

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Just as the Occupy Wall Street movement has brought more attention to financial disparities between the haves and have-nots in American society, researchers from Indiana University and the University Medical Center Utrecht in The Netherlands are highlighting the disproportionate influence of so called "Rich Clubs" within the human brain.

Not all regions of the brain, they say, are created equal.

"We've known for a while that the brain has some regions that are 'rich' in the sense of being highly connected to many other parts of the brain," said Olaf Sporns, professor in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences in IU's College of Arts and Sciences. "It now turns out that these regions are not only individually rich, they are forming a 'rich club.' They are strongly linked to each other, exchanging information and collaborating."

Is part of your brain trying to protest? Is it trying to do a sit-down strike against other parts? Which parts of your brain win out in power struggles? Do some parts of your brain get their desires satisfied while other parts go wanting?

Think about it this way: When it becomes possible to connect brains to each other with elaborate embedded interfaces is there any doubt that not all parts of the brain will be connected up into virtual realms? I'm thinking the frontal cortex will make sure it is well connected and other parts of the brain will get short shrift.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2011 November 01 10:16 PM  Brain Structure

PacRim Jim said at November 2, 2011 2:45 AM:

I look forward to looking though the eyes of other people, and one day sharing their consciousness.
We are the Borg.

Gyorgy Magyary said at November 2, 2011 6:43 AM:

Interestingly organisms form constructive clubs "negentropic "; destructive clubs "entropic" and defense and survival clubs of the whole organism. Predestination or not, it is the question.

Douglas Fletcher said at November 2, 2011 12:31 PM:

"Just as the Occupy Wall Street movement has brought more attention to financial disparities between the haves and have-nots"

This is about as dumb as it gets. F-

Vince said at November 2, 2011 12:32 PM:

Nice post, Randall. Just also add that it's not just "the neocortex" as if: (a) it's a monolithic whole, or that(b) that we'd connect it all.

On the first point, there is a nice modularization and hierarchical structure at work. Nature is already energetically bound and has chosen variations on small-world network graphs for neural connectivity. Given both of the above statements, it would likely be a small subset motif within the network which can/will act as the IO.

For instance, when our brain is making an "external" connection, as between hemispheres, it generally chooses to do so between high-level structures in the processing hierarchy over a few 'high-bandwidth' connections -- the corpus callosum being the notable one.

Ellen said at November 2, 2011 12:45 PM:

Just as well. I wouldn't want my brain stem or cerebellum hooked up to the world. They have localized jobs of great importance. I don't need a plebiscite to decide to breathe.

DirtCrashr said at November 2, 2011 1:06 PM:

Medulla Oblongata, baby!! When the autonomic functions go on a General Strike, the host dies! It's all about infrastructure engineering.

Achillea said at November 2, 2011 1:37 PM:

I've heard of the body politic, but this is body politics.

Ernie G said at November 2, 2011 2:14 PM:

Even as I write this, the dumber part of my brain is waging war on the smarter, richer, better organized part. It is using its favorite weapon: Bombay Sapphire.

Joseph Hertzlinger said at November 2, 2011 4:21 PM:

Equal rights for occipital lobes!

bbartlog said at November 2, 2011 4:28 PM:

mmm, Bombay Sapphire. At least the dumber part of your brain has good taste... or maybe it just knows what the smarter part's weakness is :-)

buddy larsen said at November 2, 2011 9:51 PM:

PacRimJim, I believe that should be "We am the Borg" ?

Engineer-Poet said at November 5, 2011 7:59 PM:

After enough Bombay Sapphire, you won't be able to tell the difference.

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