Title Description Type Year
The human brain: A philosophical and scientific perspective – Corpus Curiosum (Series IV)

Talk by Dr Javier de Felipe, Polytechnic University of Madrid

The appearance, expansion and differentiation of a highly complex multi-laminated cortex, the “neocortex” is a fundamental event during the evolution of the mammalian telencephalon. This cortical region is the most human part of the nervous system because it is the brain structure whose activity is directly related to the emergence of those capacities that distinguish humans from other mammals. Thanks to the neocortex we can perform such extraordinary and highly complex tasks as writing a book, composing a symphony or inventing the computer. Yet, what is special about the human cerebral cortex is a longstanding question in neuroscience. Fortunately, at present, there are methods that allow us to examine human brain organization and function at a level of detail similar to or even greater than that we can obtain with animal models. In this talk, I will emphasise how the application of these methods has shown that the human cerebral cortex displays clear species-specific variations in cortical microstructure and that it is likely that as more detailed studies are carried out on human cortical circuits, we will discover many more differences at the genetic, molecular, structural, and physiological levels between humans and other species. Thus, not only does the increase in size, and therefore in complexity, of our brains seem to be responsible for our higher or more abstract mental abilities but also, the specialization of our cortical circuits appears to be critical.

Video 2022 The human brain: A philosophical and scientific perspective – Corpus Curiosum (Series IV)