What is Human Brain Mapping?
As the very term suggests, human brain mapping is the practice of sketching a complete picture of different parts of brain. But it is not limited merely to the exploration of the structural aspects of your master organ, the researchers also try to understand the functional specialties as well as the functional integration of different components. Inside the skull or cranium, there is a 1.5 kg mass of nervous tissue the most part of which is made up of gray matter while the remaining portion is contributed by white matter. Brain mapping has also revealed that this superior most organ has three distinct parts, namely, forebrain, midbrain and hindbrain, with each having its own structural and functional peculiarities.
Efforts for Brain Mapping at Global Level:
The mysterious powers and miraculous working of the central part of the central nervous system has inspired the intellectuals round the world to get access into the deepest recesses of mind. In this regard, some serious efforts are underway at the international level. One of the most prominent attempts in this respect is that of the establishment of Organization for Human Brain Mapping (OHBM). This international organization has the primary aim to explore the organization of brain by the use of neuroimaging.
Advancement in Human Brain Mapping:
i. Improvement in Diagnosis of Brain Disorders:
Serious efforts in the field of human brain mapping have resulted in the better and more reliable diagnosis of certain brain related disorders. For example, on the basis of alterations in the large scale brain networks, it has been become possible to differentiate between bipolar and unipolar depressive disorders.
ii. Better Understanding of DN Functioning:
Many research works have been conducted to discover the influence of diseases and development on the default network (DN) of brain, but unfortunately we do not know much about the factors that are likely to affect the normal functioning of default network. However, some recent studies have provided an evidence that the efficiency of information processing in the default network depends on individual’s openness to experience. Here ‘openness to experience’ refers to the tendency of a person to involve in the abstract cognitive, creative and imaginative processes. The research findings also indicate that ‘openness to experience’ has biological basis and that the inborn framework of the large scale brain systems is affected by the normally distributed traits of one’s personality.
iii. Disclosure of Functional Integration among Brain Parts:
The researchers, conducting studies on brain mapping, are making use of the computational approaches to explore functional integration among different regions of brain. In this regard, the technique of dynamic causal modeling (DCM) has proved to be very helpful in finding out the connections among various brain regions. So, it is easy to have better understanding of the neural mechanisms associated with the normal cognitive functioning as well as the psychiatric diseases.
iv. Part of Brain Responsible for Social Interaction:
The work on human brain mapping has resulted in indication of the part of brain that is responsible for attention and social interaction of an individual. It is with the help of rTPJ (right temporoparietal junction) that people are able to pay attention to unexpected stimuli. At the same time, the capacity to understand the mental states of others also lies in this region. Understanding others’ mental states, on the other hand, is related to the social interaction or socialization. So, it can be said that people who avoid socialization are likely to have some kind of defect in this part of their brain.
On the basis of above discussion and information, it can be concluded that research on human brain mapping is yielding very useful results. Significant advancements have been made with regard to the better understanding of different mental disorders, connectivity and functional integration of different regions of brain, and the role of individual parts of brain in executing different cognitive and intellectual functions.