As they age, people are more and more aware that the memory isn’t what it used to be. Indeed, neurons in our brain continue to develop their activity, but without replacement after they die. As a consequence, the more we continue with our lives, the more forgetful we get to be. However, a new study revealed that this process doesn’t happen throughout all the brain. There is one part of the brain that continues to grow even when people reach the stage of young adults.
A new study from Stanford University proved that face recognition is a one of ourcapacities that develops in time instead of decaying like the rest of neurons. A psychology professor at Stanford, Kalanit Grill-Spector, stated that a certain part of the brain is responsible for remembering faces. This region is essential for human’s social nature that reaches its peak when people become young adults.
There were 25 young adults aged 22 to 28, and 22 kids up to 12-year-old that took part in the study. The team of scientists proceeded to scan their brain activity while each of them studied different pictures of people and locations. The used equipment employed two techniques of magnetic resonance imaging. The study went even further than this. The Stanford members asked the help of their German fellows to supply them with samples of donated dead brains. This way, they could study the cellular structures at a deeper level.
The study collected data only from the region of the brain that is in charge with recognizing faces. It is called fusiform gyrus, and it can be found only in humans and certain species of apes, such as bonobos, orangutans, gorillas, and chimps. This doesn’t mean that the rest of animals are not capable of recognizing faces. However, they use different parts of the brain for this kind of task.
The results of the study found that the fusiform gyrus starts evolving from the age of five and upwards until people become young adults. The team of scientists is not holding neurons responsible for this evolution. Instead, they believe that the structures of neurons such as dendrites and synapses are expanding. This study proves that human brain is more complex than we thought. Even though some brain tissues are predisposed to degradation in time, other parts are not dependent on this process. On the contrary, they can develop into something greater than before.
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