Brain School

In anticipation of the lecture on the Brain in Greg’s undergraduate Human Evolution class next week, I have compiled a bunch of fun links to learn about brain structure and function. Please suggest a link to your educational blog or a brain school website that I perhaps haven’t included on the list!

A brief bio of the brain: From Infancy to Adolescence

The infant brain is a highly plastic organ. There is an initial overproduction of nerve cells in the brain. These nerve cells must go through significant periods of pruning and connectivity before the brain can become functional. It is largely the influence of experience that dictates which nerve cells are kept and which are pruned. Unlike other cells of the body, nerve cells are terminally differentiated, which means that they are rarely replaced. Thus, it is very important that we are careful with the nerve cells that we are born with. Make sure you protect your brain: Wear a bike-helmet, eat healthy foods, get sufficient sleep.

By the time the brain is in its second decade of life, it has reached its full size. But the brain still has a fair bit to do. The teenage years represent a very important time of maturation in brain connectivity. Adolescence is a huge period of change and growth. The still maturing prefrontal cortex is undergoing a major step in the formation of morality, self control. forethought and abstract thinking. The developing teenage brain may face many challenges, from the establishment of identity and facing the adversity of social pressures, to the risks of schizophrenia and other brain disorders. An understanding of the brain, it’s origins, it’s development, it’s connections to the rest of the body, it’s role in social discourse and it’s cultural influences can all greatly contribute to an understanding of Homo sapiens sapiens.


Brains Rule
Neuroscience For Kids
Kids Health
Brain Boosters
Brainy Kids
Brain Injury Association of America for kids
Kids Health, The Brain

Superkids: Education for the future


Neuroscience Tutorial
Neuroscience, Psychiatry, Psychology and Psychoanalysis
All in the Mind
How your brain works
Brain Imaging Basics
Brain Connection
Brain Glossary
A cup of Neuropsychology? 
Alleydog (for Psychology Students)
Martindale’s Brain and NeuroCenter
Internet Handbook of neurology
National Institute of Mental Health
Brain, The world inside your head

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Paul Mason

I am a biomedically trained social anthropologist interested in biological and cultural diversity.

5 thoughts on “Brain School

  1. Pleease consider the Brain Injury News and Informaation Blog at as an adddition to your list. The Brain Injury News and Information Blog is authored by nationally recognized brain injury attorney, Michael V. Kaplen, three term past president of the Brain Injury Association of New York State and past chair of the American Association for Justice, Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation Group. You can read more about his brain injury legal practice at

  2. When it comes to intelligence, size matters. Larger brains have more neurons to work with but it is not quite that straight forward. Elephants and whales have large brains and aren’t nearly as intelligent as humans. Neanderthals also had large brains. Size only accounts for so much because most of the brain is made of structural cells, called glial cells, and larger brains simply have larger nerve and structural cells. Regardless of size all people have roughly the same neurons in the brain. Physical anthropologists attribute the extra large size of the human brain and henece intelligence to enhanced cooling capacity called the “radiator theory” and increased blood flow as a result of upright posture. Evolution, however, fails to explain human intelligence which far exceeds the capacity of the brain. Conversely, upright posture also predisposes humans to neurodegenerative diseases of the brain and cord, which can affect intelligence. Please visit my website at for further informaton.

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