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How Brain Mapping Works

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The human brain is a knot of 100 billion neurons and support cells. We can store a lifetime of memories there. We can use it to write sonnets and build airplanes. Sure, an elephant’s brain is larger, weighs more, and has more neurons, but elephants also lack our abilities. Intrigued? Scientists sure are. That’s one reason why they are mapping the human brain, a substantial project that could take decades to complete.

Brain mapping attempts to relate the brain’s structure to its function, or finding what parts give us certain abilities. For example, what aspect of our brain allows us to be creative or logical? This is called localization of function.


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