It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
One, it's called the lateral frontal pole. Two, it's unique to humans - they ran tests on monkeys in the course of the research at Oxford and, nope, they don't have it. Three, it's the size of "a large Brussels sprout". And four, it's a leap beyond current scientific knowledge into realms that can only be described as spooky.
The small ball of neural tissue, named the lateral frontal pole, is vital for pondering the ‘what ifs’ of life, researchers said.
Other parts of the brain keep tabs on how well decisions are working, but this new region thinks over what we might have done instead.
Read more: www.dailymail.co.uk... .html#ixzz2rtMwsCs3
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook
For centuries we thought that the conscience was just some faculty of moral insight in the human mind, an innate sense that one was behaving well or badly - although the great HL Mencken once defined it as, "the inner voice which warns us that someone may be looking". It's been used by religions as a numinous something-or-other, kindly bestowed by God, to give humans a choice between sin and Paradise.
We already knew (he says, hastily consulting his copy of Popular Science for Dimwits) that the brain can monitor decisions it has made. It tells itself: "I have chosen to follow this track in the forest and it's turning out to be a sunlit pathway/sodden jungle", but it registers no more nuanced reaction than that. What this newly discovered region does, however, is to identify other paths that it might have been better to take, and register what a dolt the brain feels for getting it wrong.
"This region monitors how good the choices are that we don't take," said Professor Matthew Rushworth, who led the research,
"There are a few brain areas that monitor how good our choices are, and that is a very sensible thing to have. But this region monitors how good the choices are that we didn't take. It tells us how green the grass is on the other side of the fence."
The remarkable finding highlights how much scientists have to learn about the human brain and how cutting-edge lab techniques are redrawing the map of the most complex organ in the known universe.
One expert who spoke to the Guardian said the work was "stunning" and could pave the way for fresh advances in understanding psychiatric diseases. Details of the work are published in the Neuron journal.
In order to understand consciousness, I think some combination of science and spirituality (for lack of a better word) is required.
reply to post by Stormdancer777
The areas can be completely negated --by the ego. A dominant sense of power and control, greatly diminishes the need to weigh alternatives in the past.
Apparently in a sample of 70 psychopathic killers, all 70 brains were found to have some damage to the orbital cortex in this frontal region, behind the eyebrows, but there's more to it than that, like when in a person's development the damage occurs, environment, and genetic factors like "The violence gene" MAOA, as this expert explains in a talk given 5 years ago (so I guess the idea that this area of the brain may be linked to conscience isn't new):
I guess the next step is to see if serial killers have that. That should be interesting.