Brodmann Area 10

Cognition +

As a rule the newer the brain area is , the more sophisticated it is. Brodmann divided the brain into different areas and Area 10 was the latest in development and has many cognitive and connective ingredients in it.

Many think that the claustrum is the centre of this higher thought but it would seem to low in the evolutionary matrix to have such properties. It undoubtedly helps in the link between the middle and cortex regions and emits slow wave signals but I do not believe it is a contender. It is thought that we can only hold one direct conscious thought at one time or possibly two with less insight. The brain consists of many layers and it could be that further evolution adds another frontal layer that allows multi-targeted thoughts at once. It has been conjectured from Libet onwards, that thoughts are force fed into us and the only control is to veto it and move quickly to the next. This power of veto relies on information from the limbic (emotions) and logic (frontal areas). There are also different levels of threat and constructs of incoming suggestions, from being stalked by a bear to thinking of tomorrow’s dinner. The packets of thoughts are called qualia/chunks and are thought to be a conglomeration of relevant images, sounds, smells and possible outcomes of an ‘idea’.

The enlargement of Area 10 in hominids has run parallel with a greater level of cognisance and cannot be coincidence that these attributes are so closely intertwined. As always there has to be a purpose (not always immediately obvious) why a certain somatic change happens. Socialisation seems to be a driving force for many adaptions and it may have had some input into this area. The main impetus must have been to provide that which other organisms do not exhibit, long term planning and advance problem solving. This mutation offered an in-depth focus on a solution or alternatives to one (possibly two) scenarios that offer a much more sophisticated and hopefully better answers to questions. This concentration of output is similar but more intense than other parts of the pre-frontal cortex.

Anatomical connections between Brodmann area 10 and cortical/subcortical brain regions.

Decison making

BA 10 is divided into three sub-areas, 10p, 10m and 10r. 10p occupies the frontal pole while the other two cover the ventromedial part of the prefrontal cortex. Although the subject is only conjecture it may be that 10p as the most anterior is the final decider of consciousness. It may be that the other areas are either associated with conflicting logical or emotional qualia. Because of the speed in which a decision is made it can be assumed that the ‘thoughts’ are already fully formed and only vetoing or choosing, is the sole purpose of 10p. Surprisingly Area 10 is not populated with the density of neurons usually found, it is quite sparse, relying more on connections. It also does not seem to have few or no primary sensory or motor areas. This indicates that it has a very specific purpose. It seems to be interconnected with supramodal cortex in the PFC, anterior temporal cortex and cingulate cortex.

It may be that decision making is not made exclusively here but the underdevelopment of this area in other species and its unusual architecture does point to it being special.


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