What Makes The Human Brain So Unique? 

Written by: Cici Zhang

(Arizona Public Media)

Our brain is 60% fat and 40% water, protein, carbohydrates, and salt. It also includes blood vessels and nerves such as neurons and glial cells. On average, our human brain weighs approximately 3 pounds (Johns Hopkins Medicine). Its structure is more complex compared to other species. Our brain’s exterior is not particularly pleasing to the eye, having rough edges and weird indents, but it is because of this peculiarity that we humans are more intelligent than other species. The grooves of the brain are called Gyri and Sulci—determinants of higher mental processes. Our brain is constructed of two layers: the cerebral cortex is the outermost layer or “gray matter,” whereas the innermost layer is called the white matter. The cerebral cortex holds the most critical function in our brain, allowing us to learn skills such as language learning, tool-making, reasoning, and social cognition (Preuss). 

Neurons are essential for carrying information in certain parts of the brain. It acts as an information messenger that sends and receives information—almost like sending a text message! The size of the neuron represents the speed at which the data flows from one neuron to another. The faster the speed, the higher increase in learning performance. For example, there is a sizable difference between the human brain and a rat’s brain. Rats’ brain structure and function are similar to a human’s, however their brains are extremely miniature in size. The smaller a brain is, the less complex. The uniqueness of the human brain lies in the it’s complexity and its ability to think and react to different situations. 

Ultimately, this differentiation has helped us better understand human capability compared to other species. Our continual discovery of the brain and its components has also allowed us to define the basis of human behavior, interaction and other neural processes.

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