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Chapter: Psychology: The Brain and the Nervous System

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The Cerebral Cortex

All parts of the brain are important—and there’s no truth at all to the often-quoted claim that we “use only 10% of our brain” .

THE  CEREBRAL CORTEX

All parts of the brain are important—and there’s no truth at all to the often-quoted claim that we “use only 10% of our brain” (Figure 3.32). (The evidence is clear, for example, that damage virtually anywhere in the brain causes some form of disruption. This fact alone tells us that the entire brain is needed for one function or another!) One brain region, however, holds special interest for psychologists: the cerebral cor-tex. Here we find the brain tissue that is pivotal in our ability to perceive the world and to understand what we perceive. Here also is the brain tissue we need for planning our movements, producing and comprehending language, and carrying out the broad set of functions that we call “thinking”—whether we’re thinking about abstract matters or concrete issues, pragmatic problems or social concerns. The cerebral cortex is also the portion of the brain that supports the pattern of beliefs and preferences that give each of us our unique personalities and values. Let’s examine this essential (and large) section of the brain.


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