‘Brain waves’ challenge area-specific view of brain activity

'Brain waves' challenge area-specific view of brain activity

Our understanding of brain activity has traditionally been linked to brain areas - when we speak, the speech area of the brain is active. New research by an international team of psychologists led by David Alexander and Cees van Leeuwen (Laboratory for Perceptual Dynamics) shows that this view may be overly rigid. The entire cortex, not just the area responsible for a certain function, is activated when a given task is initiated. Furthermore, activity occurs in a pattern: waves of activity roll from one side of the brain to the other.

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Andrew says "This is fascinating because it challenges current thinking of purely localised neural networks, specialising in specific functions, which do exist, but suggests an overriding participation of larger, more diffusely spread networks, which may be involved in multiple functions. Ties in with the parallel processing properties of networks. It looks like we might have 'a simultaneous, multi-tasking, multiple processing operating system!'"

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