Tipping Points in the Brain
In his quest to unravel the relationship between brain function and intelligent behaviour, Karl Lashley, an American psychologist, conducted a set of experiments in the 1920s and 30s. The psychologist meticulously destroyed different parts of the cerebral cortex of rats, allowed them to recover from the surgery and then tested their ability to learn and remember certain tasks such as running a maze or distinguishing between two patterns. The degree of impairment depended only on how much of the cortex was destroyed – and not which part. It was not until he had removed at least half the cortex that learning and memory became severely impaired.
“Tipping Points in the Brain” was published in The Scientific American (International Edition), 2010.