Have you ever stopped and wondered how the brain works? Most of us have at some point.
It’s rather difficult to wrap your brain around, well… your brain.
Scientists have been trying to understand the brain for many centuries – and will need to for many more. Which leads us to the question, just how complex is the human brain?
The answer is pretty incredible. Keep reading to learn what you need to know about the brain inside your head!
Let’s start by talking about the basics of the brain.
What is the human brain? The brain is the only organ that makes up your central nervous system. It has three main parts: brainstem, cerebellum, and cerebrum. Each of these main parts plays a crucial role in your life, from talking and thinking, to moving and breathing.
The brain is the body’s most complex organ.
Here are a few quick facts:
- The brain is a complex electrical system of 86 billion neurons
- The nervous system not only influences but is influenced by every other body system (e.g. immune, cardiovascular, reproductive, etc.)
- The brain generates enough electricity to power an iPhone
- Just as any other organ, the brain can malfunction
- The brain requires around 20% of the oxygen you breathe in
- The brain can’t feel pain, as it contains no pain receptors
Everything you think, feel, and do are controlled by your brain – even the things you might not be aware that you’re doing, like breathing, blinking, digesting food, filtering out toxins, and so much more.
Your Brain Is Always Learning
One thing that scientists are sure of is that your brain is constantly learning. Even if you’re not asking questions or breaking out the school books, your brain is paying attention to everything that’s going on around you and storing information and it’s a memory bank.
There are many different theories revolving around how the brain learns, but one thing that scientists agree on is that your brain uses sensory perception, such as sight, taste, smell, or hearing, to take in information.
From that information, it builds a database in which it later uses to form thoughts, emotions, visual perception, and more.
What We Don’t Know – but Wish We Did
Unfortunately, science only knows so much about the human brain, but researchers are working every day to understand more than we did yesterday.
There are several ways that scientists study the brain, from psychological testing to MRI and pet scans, to slicing up the brain like a cold cut. Literally. A scientist will use a machine called a microtome to slice super thin pieces of the brain so they can later be studied under powerful microscopes.
Some topics we are currently studying:
- Information coding
We don’t always know why or how the brain does what it does, but we do know that it’s working hard 24/7 – even when you’re sleeping!
Just How Complex Is the Human Brain?
If you’ve finished reading this article, but feel like all of your questions haven’t been answered, it’s because there is so much unknown territory when it comes to the brain.
So, just how complex is the human brain? The world may never know, but every day we learn a little bit more.
Browse through more of our educational articles to give your brain a workout and keep it in tip-top shape.