Science constantly reveals new truths about our most important and mysterious organ, but its functions and possibilities never cease to amaze us.
Here are a few facts about the human brain and memory:
1. You cannot tickle yourself.
Examining the patient who is afraid of tickling, doctors usually try to have his or her hands over their own to prevent such feelings. This happens because your brain keeps your senses focused on the important things, such as signals from the outside world, which should not sink into the bottomless sea of sensations caused by your own actions.
For this purpose, there is a part of the brain that generates a signal that distinguishes our own touch from someone else’s. It occupies about 1/8 of the total brain size and weighs about 4 ounces (113g).
2. The brain has a humor center.
It is very difficult to define what a sense of humor is, but we know it very well when we face it. One theory suggests that the effect of humor is based on a surprise provoked by the outcome of the situation that is different from what standard logic and experience say, with an unusual interpretation of rather ordinary things.
To make it perceived as a joke and not as a logic puzzle, it should be a coherent story with an unexpected, but not too reasonable in the usual sense outcome. Some patients with damage to the frontal lobe of the brain do not understand jokes.
Typically, it happens due to the problems with the interpretation of the process. For example, getting a joke with a choice of endings, they cannot determine which of them is funny.
3. Frequent jet lag can lead to memory disorders.
Constant jet lag can be dangerous for the health of your brain. People who do long flights associated with crossing many time zones are at risk of brain damage and memory problems. This, apparently, is the result of stress hormones that damage the temporal lobe and memory, and are produced during the jet lag.
4. Finally, there is a reason for which you remember those awful annoying songs.
The presence of a song or, more likely, part of a song firmly stuck in your head is incredibly disturbing but, unfortunately, the risk of catching such an earworm is directly related to the mechanism of functioning of our memory.
We constantly have to remember a number of sequences, from the movements of signing your name or preparing the morning coffee to a sequence of turns on the highway on your way home.
The ability to reconstruct these and other sequences enables most aspects of our daily lives, as we do it automatically, without thinking. Sometimes at the time when you are thinking about a song or speech, your brain can repeat a certain sequence, thus strengthening the ties with this phrase and associating it with a set of actions or movements.
Next time, this sequence can automatically push a recollection out of your memory, that is, a phrase or a portion of a song. Thus, repetition and recollection lead to the strengthening of the reflex.
5. Yawning causes the brain to mobilize.
Despite the fact that we usually associate yawning with sleepiness and boredom, in reality, it is a means to awaken us and to refresh our brain. Yawning is an expansion of the pharynx and larynx, which lets more air in and, respectively, more oxygen flows through the lungs into the bloodstream, bringing your body to a state of readiness. Now, it’s an unexpected fact about the human brain, isn’t it?
These facts about the human brain demonstrate how many mysteries our most important organ is hiding that are yet to be explored.
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