September 24th 2009

Human brains are mini-cities

A new study from researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute has found that cities and brains are organized similarly, with the development of cities mirroring the evolution of brains.

They coincide in their development of movement. Large cities need advanced systems for highways and transportation for more population; brains have a similar neural network for complex thought.

As brains get increasingly complex, they change in structure and organization in order to maintain their levels of connectedness.

This is similar with cities. Mark Changizi, a neurobiolgist and assistant professor in the Department of Cognitive Science at Rensselaer explains, “Natural selection has passively guided the evolution of mammalian brains throughout time, just as politicians and entrepreneurs have indirectly shaped the organization of cities large and small. It seems both of these invisible hands have arrived at a similar conclusion: brains and cities, as they grow larger, have to be similarly densely interconnected to function optimally.”

Changizi has discovered connections between the size of the city or brain to the number and size of its supporting region.

Read more here about the highways and biways of our brain, which “have to efficiently maintain a fixed level of connectedness, independent of the physical size of the brain or city, in order to work properly, “ Changizi sums.

Awesome. Now let’s put those brains to work.

Source: ScienceDaily

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Andrew loves art and design, and pursues his studies in his final year at the Ontario College of Art and Design. He loves seeking out new artists and giving them their dues, and in his spare time, focuses on his own abstract sculpture.