July 2017 - The Neuroscience School

Archive Monthly Archives: July 2017

Why Self-Actualization May Be Biologically Determined

Self-Actualization is Biologically Determined

According to Abraham Maslow's hierarchy of needs, self-actualization - realizing one's full and unique potential - is the pinnacle of human motives. The traditional view of self-actualization is that it's above the lower biological and social needs. But if self-actualizing is a universal drive, the researchers wanted to know whether it promotes biological fitness (also called Darwinian fitness, and refers to the ability to pass on one's genes to future generations) and/or social motivations.

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If Elephants Have Bigger Brains, Why Are They Not Smarter than Us?

Elephant brains are larger than human brains but contain fewer neurons in the cerebral cortex

This is what Brazilian neuroscientist, Suzana Herculano-Houzel, aimed to find out. The African elephant brain is three times larger than ours, but did it have more neurons? Over a period of six months, she and her students sliced an elephant brain by hand, separated out the different brain structures, and processed them into 5 gram pieces. The pieces of brain were stained and the neurons counted by hand.

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