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Monday, September 26, 2011

The Prefrontal Cortex

The prefrontal cortex includes the entorhinal cortex, the frontal lobe, and the ventromedial prefrontal cortex. The entorhinal cortex pre-processes sensory inputs for the frontal lobe, which figures out what to do in situations. Some of what it figures out is stored in the cerebrum, but certain frontal-lobe generated neural nodes are stored in the frontal lobe itself. This is what has been found by using brain imaging technologies to observe chess masters and musicians while they are thinking about their practices1. What kinds of things are stored in the frontal lobe itself is determined by how the ventromedial prefrontal cortex is wired.

The ventromedial prefrontal cortex is the center of identity. In a study in which fifteen Christians' and fifteen nonbelievers' brains were observed using fMRIs, their ventromedial prefrontal cortexes were more active when they affirmed or negated questions about religious myths than when they were asked normal questions.2

1Restak, Richard. (2009). Think smart: a neuroscientist's prescription for improving your brain's performance. New York: Riverhead Books.

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