Morality in the Brain

Year 2012 is coming to a close and we are getting ready for one more end-of-the-year celebrations. People are already in a festive mood – remembering friends, recalling  favors received and planning for reciprocation with gifts. As you shop and bring home the packets, you plan to embellish them with a hand-crafted insignia to show your extra care and love. So you take a pair of scissors in hand and begin to cut a piece of paper molding it into an attractive shape. Your child suddenly comments: “Why do you purse your lips when you are cutting the paper?”

Fig. 1: Homunculus – Brain Real Estate Devoted to Touch in the Primary Somatosensory Cortex

What? Pursed the lips? You were not even conscious of the face, forget the lips.You were so much lost in the job with all your attention focused on the fingers and the scissors, you were unaware of the tightness in your face. Why should the lips tense up? And you  don’t even know about it!

You may be a six footer weighing 60 – 70 Kg having seen half a century or more of summers (and winters); or may be a short and smart young man of  20.  The wetware weighing less than a Kg and half (about 3 pounds) sitting between your ears contains an encrypted miniature model of who you are. It has all the maps representing your past, your knowledge, your expertise, tastes, likes, dislikes – everything that describes what you call as your ‘personality.’ Continue reading