How we retrieve our knowledge about the world

In order to find our way in the world, we classify it into concepts, such as "telephone." Until now, it was unclear how the brain retrieves these when we only encounter the word and don't perceive the objects directly. Scientists ...

Psychology & Psychiatry

Viewing your own face, even subconsciously, is rewarding

As humans, we each have a powerful ability to easily recognize our own face. But now, researchers from Japan have uncovered new information about how our cognitive systems enable us to distinguish our own face from those ...

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Scientists are building more comprehensive tests for COVID-19

New strains of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, may have greater transmissibility or altered virulence, or may exhibit resistance to the current vaccines. Now, scientists are racing to develop better ways to detect ...


Study shows people hear what they expect to hear

Humans depend on their senses to perceive the world, themselves and each other. Despite senses being the only window to the outside world, people do rarely question how faithfully they represent the external physical reality. ...

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Cerebral cortex

The cerebral cortex is a structure within the brain that plays a key role in memory, attention, perceptual awareness, thought, language, and consciousness. It constitutes the outermost layer of the cerebrum. In preserved brains, it has a grey color, hence the name "grey matter". Grey matter is formed by neurons and their unmyelinated fibers, whereas the white matter below the grey matter of the cortex is formed predominantly by myelinated axons interconnecting different regions of the central nervous system. The human cerebral cortex is 2–4 mm (0.08–0.16 inches) thick.

The surface of the cerebral cortex is folded in large mammals, such that more than two-thirds of the cortical surface is buried in the grooves, called "sulci." The phylogenetically most recent part of the cerebral cortex, the neocortex, also called isocortex, is differentiated into six horizontal layers; the more ancient part of the cerebral cortex, the hippocampus (also called archicortex), has at most three cellular layers, and is divided into subfields. Relative variations in thickness or cell type (among other parameters) allow us to distinguish between different neocortical architectonic fields. The geometry of at least some of these fields seems to be related to the anatomy of the cortical folds, and, for example, layers in the upper part of the cortical ridges (called gyri) seem to be more clearly differentiated than in its deeper parts.

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