Brain and Behavior

Brain Development

Do the different brain regions ever perform redundant functions?

In some cases, the cortex and subcortical areas provide redundant or overlapping functions. For example, both the frontal lobe and the basal ganglia regulate motor behavior. But the behavior regulated by the basal ganglia is relatively crude and inflexible. Although fast and efficient, it is not easily adapted to changing conditions. Behavior regulated by the frontal lobe, on the other hand, is much more nuanced, flexible, and responsive to changing conditions. The frontal lobe is often slower, however, and consumes more energy than the basal ganglia. Thus we are happy to rely on our basal ganglia when walking down the sidewalk, but would prefer to employ our frontal lobe when performing surgery or defusing a bomb.


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