[LMB] Quaddie brains

Jason Long sturmvogel66 at gmail.com
Wed Sep 11 21:27:21 BST 2013

It's true that new neurons are created, but, AFAIK, they're mostly all
related to memory. The somatosensory cortex, which is the part of the brain
we're discussing here, seems to have a fixed number of neurons, although
that number will vary between people. I don't believe that new neurons are
created there in response to the gaining of physical skills; existing
neurons just get reprogrammed, so to speak. So, yes, I think that you do
benefit somewhere else if everything else is equal (and it's usually not
due to genetic differences). And I think that you're right in that most
people don't even notice any difference.

On Wed, Sep 11, 2013 at 12:57 PM, Rachel <anglerfish at gmail.com> wrote:

> >
> > From: Jason Long
> > If she
> > had shown the Quaddies with equal dexterity in upper and lower hands,
> that
> > would be less plausible because the brain really doesn't have enough
> power
> > to do that without taking resources responsible for some other part of
> the
> > body like the legs or lips. Of course, that would have been waved off as
> > part of the genetic manipulation that produced the Quaddies to begin
> with,
> > but the suspension of disbelief begins to fray for those knowledgeable in
> > the field.
> >
> Is it really that cut and dried? Are you really that sure? We don't have a
> finite number of neurons that we are stuck with throughout life, especially
> if you're starting from birth. Maybe quaddies have less pruning in the
> motor and sensory hand areas than we do. British cabbies have larger
> hippocampuses (hippocampi?) than others presumably because they practice
> the encoding of spatial information more often--are you committed to the
> idea that that is at the expense of other brain areas? I am not
> ambidextrous at all--my left hand becomes pretty useless in many fine motor
> coordination situations--but I know people who are more dextrous than I am
> with my right hand with both of their hands. The representation of a
> violinist's fingers in their sensory and motor areas are more robust than
> mine are. Does that necessarily mean that I benefit elsewhere?
> It seems a pleasant idea that we start with an equal level of some brain
> quality and we just partition it out in individual ways, but I'm not
> convinced that it's true. Further, if the quaddies got to have dextrous
> lower hands at the expense of something else, would we even notice that
> loss?
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