Mirror Neurons

The development of a smoothly controlled motor system is a major childhood priority. Suckling is almost the first mobile act of an infant, followed by the brain-outward maturation of the arm and leg systems—eating before grasping before walking. Since mobility is a central human characteristic, these innate systems must develop early at the survival level…

A Conversation With Marian Diamond

The photographs and worn books that adorn Dr. Marian Diamond’s office are a sharp contrast to the spare concrete corridors of the Valley Life Sciences Building at the University of California at Berkeley. And Dr. Diamond herself, an elegant woman with silver hair and a warm smile, is a pleasant contrast to the competitive and…

An Intriguing New Perspective on Our Brain’s Organization–Part 2

Last month’s column introduced Dr. Elkhonon Goldberg’s marvelous new book, The Executive Brain: Frontal Lobes and the Civilized Mind (2001). The column focused especially on his conceptualization of our brain’s overall organization. Let’s now focus on our cortex’s frontal lobes, which are central to a functioning human brain, and to Goldberg’s book. Survival is dependent…

An Intriguing New Perspective of Our Brain’s Organization–Part 1

The split brain research of several decades ago sparked many educators’ interest in our brain’s organization. The hemispheric separation of selected cognitive functions made sense to teachers who had long observed personality and ability differences in developing brains. Although the right-brain/left-brain rhetoric and learning styles inventories that emerged often went far beyond what neuroscientists had…