What makes us human? Unique brain area linked to higher cognitive powers
Oxford University researchers have identified an area of the human brain that appears unlike anything in the brains of some of our closest relatives.
The brain area pinpointed is known to be intimately involved in some of the most advanced planning and decision-making processes that we think of as being especially human.
'We tend to think that being able to plan into the future, be flexible in our approach and learn from others are things that are particularly impressive about humans. We've identified an area of the brain that appears to be uniquely human and is likely to have something to do with these cognitive powers,' says senior researcher Professor Matthew Rushworth of Oxford University's Department of Experimental Psychology.
MRI imaging of 25 adult volunteers was used to identify key components in the ventrolateral frontal cortex area of the human brain, and how these components were connected up with other brain areas. The results were then compared to equivalent MRI data from 25 macaque monkeys.