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The benefits of brain mapping : Nature News & Comment

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Neuroscientists know frighteningly little about the brain’s complexity. They have sketched out the broad anatomy of the brain, and realize that individual functions — from deciding to lift a cup to feeling envy — are mediated by circuitry that crosses anatomical borders. They can examine the detailed electrical activity of small numbers of neurons. They can wield imaging technologies that show which brain areas are activated during defined tasks, such as viewing pleasant or unpleasant pictures. But those tiny (in brain terms) pieces of information have not led neuroscientists to the big picture: what we mean by human consciousness, what makes us our individual selves or why some people develop psychiatric disorders. Neuroscientists need to be able to join the dots — and there are a lot of dots.

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