What I learned in Behavioural Science class (wk 2)

Wow, I’m really excited about all of the cool stuff I’ve been learning in school this week. I thought, rather than posting all of my homework assignments I would just pick one that was the most interesting. I don’t want to annoy people with floods of writing!

The seemingly insignificant act of hearing and seeing a baseball hit by a bat, moving to catch the ball and then catching it in a glove actually requires the use of almost every part of our brain!

First we see and hear the ball being hit by the bat. The sight of the bat about to strike the ball is first registered in the Occipital Lobe inside the Cerebral Cortex. It’s possible that these images are also processed by the temporal lobe. Next the sound from the bat would arrive and would be processed by the Temporal Lobe. At this point another function of the Temporal Lobe would also kick in which is motivation so that the rest of the body and brain will be motivated to expend the energy necessary to catch the ball. This in turn would cause the Medulla to start preparing the body for some potential stress of moving by altering the respiration, heart rate and blood pressure. A goal in the Frontal Lobe has now been set to catch the ball.

During this preparation process our subject is monitoring the ball’s direction, speed and velocity as well as also utilizing the Parietal Lobe’s spatial and mapping functionality to try to predict where the ball will come back down. This way the body can move to the proper location and not need to dive or slide to catch the ball. Efficiency is of key importance is most of the brain’s operations.

Next, the Cerebellum will utilize its ability to control movement to get the subject walking or running over to where it believes the ball will be landing. After getting into the right position the Cerebellum will use another function to adjust reflexes and balance for the entire body to ensure that the subject does not fall over or drop the ball. After the ball is caught the Medulla will begin sending signals to the body to let it know that it can now begin relaxing.

As you can see from this short description almost every portion of the brain is utilized during this process. Hopefully this gives you a view into how diverse, flexible and powerful the human brain really is.