How the Human Brain Evolved to Harness Abstract Thought

via Vanderbilt University

The human brain is organized in functional networks—connected brain regions that communicate with each other through dedicated pathways. That is how we perceive our senses, how the body moves, how we are able to remember the past and plan for the future. The “default mode” network is the part of our connected brain that is responsible for abstract and self-directed thought. When we process external sensory information, the default mode network turns off, and when there is less going on outside our bodies it turns on. Whether the same default mode network is found in mammals similar to humans has not been firmly answered; different studies have yielded different conclusions.

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