Mapping the brain


IT used to be thought that all were controlled by the same part of the brain, but there is increasing evidence that certain areas control specific feelings. Questions are being raised, for example, by the case of an epileptic woman who has lost her sense of fear, so she will willingly plunge her hand into boiling water unless stopped.

The woman's sense of danger disappeared after an operation to control her epilepsy, in which surgeons removed two almond sized portions of brain behind each ear. Psychologists with the British Medical Research Council's Applied Psychology Unit believe the surgeons may have unwittingly located the specific parts of the brain which control the emotions of danger and fear. They were reporting in the science journal, Nature.