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BRAIN MATTERS: Tip your brain too!

Recently, I was watching my son competing with my neighbour’s son on who will finish drinking a big mug of lemon juice first.  My son did win the competition and he was very excited while explaining his victory to me. Though I shrugged off his achievement as a simple act on his part not worthy of attention for more than few seconds, the same night as I was reading David Eagleman’s ‘The Brain: The story of You’, I realised how ignorant and ill-informed I am. The act of drinking lemon juice from a mug which looked so ordinary was, in fact, a very complicated act, but thanks to our brain, we are able to perform it effortlessly.

As per David Eagleman, this simple act of getting the mug to the mouth is no easy task. Even today, the field of robotics finds it very hard to make this task without any glitch. You might be wondering why so?

David Eagleman explains this feat in depth in the following manner:

  • Our visual system first needs to scan the scene and locate the mug, at the same time Brain needs to trigger our long-term memory and retrieve our memories of lemon juice in other situations or circumstances.
  • Frontal cortex then deploys signals on a journey to our motor cortex to coordinate muscle contractions throughout our upper body, forearm and fingers so that we can grasp the mug.
  • On touching the mug, our nerves need to carry information about mug’s position, its temperature, its weight and many other related aspects to the spinal cord and brain. These information helps the brain to make all the necessary calculations to adjust the movement of our arm so that we can take the mug to our mouth seamlessly and drink every drop of the juice without spilling it on our dress.

We all need to remember that this entire process is handled by the brain within a few milliseconds.  Though from outside we look so calm and composed while drinking a mug of juice, inside our brain are its neural connections that are busy coordinating with one another, doing some calculations, sending series of messages to different parts of the body.

All these  tasks are handled by our brain so that we are able to handle the task effortlessly without expecting any recognition and appreciation.  So next time, on finishing your mug of chilled beer, don’t just give a big tip to the bartender for his prompt service. Please do remember to appreciate your brain too for its prompt service!

Prakash Prabhu
Email: prakash_dent@yahoo.com
[ Mr.Prakash Prabhu works for The Manipal Group as a Senior HR Manager with over 15 years of corporate experience. He has been the lead writer and contributor to CHIRP magazine. (An intra-Manipal group monthly employee magazine) An avid reader who devours one book after another, Mr.Prabhu is also a certified handwriting analyst.]
 

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