How Einstein’s brain helps study intelligence and lifelong neuroplasticity



The strange after­life of Ein­stein’s brain (BBC News):

Ein­stein’s death 60 years ago was just the start of a strange jour­ney for the most prized part of his anato­my, his brain. Stored in jars and on slides, it is still inspir­ing awe and schol­ar­ly research…

Har­vey had over­seen the divi­sion of the brain into 240 blocks, and cre­at­ed 12 sets of 200 slides con­tain­ing tis­sue sam­ples indexed to the blocks. These were deliv­ered, as promised, to the great and the good of 1950s neuropathology…Those who did reply found it to be no dif­fer­ent from nor­mal, non-genius brains. This mir­rored the result Har­vey had received when he first weighed the brain, and found it to be — at 1,230g — towards the low end of the nor­mal range for men of Ein­stein’s age…

Per­haps the most strik­ing is that Ein­stein had an extra ridge on his mid-frontal lobe, the part used for mak­ing plans and work­ing mem­o­ry. Most peo­ple have three ridges but Ein­stein had four. She also found Ein­stein’s pari­etal lobes were dra­mat­i­cal­ly asym­met­ric, and he had a knob on his right motor strip. This lat­ter fea­ture is called the “sign of omega” and it is thought to be cor­re­lat­ed to musi­cians who use their left hands. Ein­stein played the violin…

The ques­tion aris­es: Are these fea­tures that Ein­stein devel­oped through­out a life devot­ed to high­er thought, or was he born with them? Peo­ple are born with the basic pat­tern of con­vo­lu­tions in their brains, but the extent to which these are reshaped by expe­ri­ence is unknown. The sign of omega may have devel­oped as Ein­stein prac­tised the vio­lin as a boy, Falk says, but she thinks it is more dif­fi­cult to assess the con­tri­bu­tion of life’s expe­ri­ences to oth­er parts of the brain.”

Learn more:

English About SharpBrains

SHARPBRAINS is an independent think-tank and consulting firm providing services at the frontier of applied neuroscience, health, leadership and innovation.

English About SharpBrains

SHARPBRAINS es un think-tank y consultoría independiente proporcionando servicios para la neurociencia aplicada, salud, liderazgo e innovación.

Top Articles on Brain Health and Neuroplasticity

Top 10 Brain Teasers and Illusions


Subscribe to our e-newsletter

* indicates required

Got the book?