The Mind Control Synapse Stimulating Implant (SSI) is targeted to the Inferior Frontal Gyrus of the brain. The location of the IFG, for those who will encounter it in the minigame, is shown by the orange shading in the figure below:
[Public Domain Image from Gray's Anatomy
However, the location alone does not tell the whole tale of IFG and it's role in communication - whether mind-to-mind as in Escaping Titan,
or in the more customary written and spoken language. We discussed in previous blogs how the Frontal Lobe of the brain is involved in Executive Function, planning, deciding and putting plans into action, and no region better exemplifies this function than IFG. To illustrate, here is a version of the same figure to which I have added annotation:
[Image is my own, adapted from Gray]
The first thing to take notice of is that IFG includes Broca's Area. Broca's is fairly well known as the center of speech - not to mention it is a very specific area that is typically on the left side of the brain (hence consistent with the handedness of the majority of humans). What is not well known is that Broca's is connected to an entire circuit that handles the ability to hear, read, understand, speak and write language. Broca's area is adjacent to the motor area for mouth, tongue, throat, etc. and is thus well-situated for planning and executing speech. Wernicke's are is the primary center for language, and is directly adjacent to the auditory cortex, hence it is usually associated with "hearing" language. However, right at the junction of temporal and parietal lobes, Wernicke's also receives input from visual association areas. Then's there's the habit so many people have of either reading aloud, or imagining
that they are hearing text that they read. This is likely due to the association of Wernicke's with auditory areas.
The most important part of this circuit for our purposes, though, is the Arcuate Fasciculus. There are many interesting features of the AF - first is that it not only carries language functions, but also music. Damage to either Wernicke's or Broca's areas will cause deficits in speech and/or language called "aphasia." At its most severe, aphasia damages the ability to speak, but milder versions involve loss of specific components of speech - inability to speak words which the person knows and can read, write or identify visually. A new field of music therapy shows that persons with damage to Broca's area may be able to sing
even when they cannot speak, as long as the AF is intact. This is tied into treatment for stammering or stuttering in which speech is easier when hummed, sung or when the vocal cords are kept active with the "uhhh" sound.
The AF thus carries the intention
as well as the information
to communicate. It carries information from language centers to the IFG. Placing the SSI directly on the arcuate fasciculus will thus allow communication of that intention to others by means of a direct "psychic" projection.
I am often asked where, as a Neuroscientist, I would expect similar mental/psychic abilities to be located, and IFG and AF are my best guess for an ability such as mind control or mind-to-min communication. For ultimately, that's what I think mind control is - a direct communication of intent from one mind to another. When that projection targets the language areas, we get telepathic communication; but when the projection targets the executive and decision-making areas of Frontal Lobe, that communication overrides the individual's own intention and results in mind control. An interesting side-effect of the mind control SSI will be that it renders the user less
susceptible to mind control by others!
Ultimately though, I cannot speak to the effectiveness of tinfoil-hats to block the IFG SSI effects - you'll have to figure that one out for yourselves!
Until next time, take care of your brain - it's got some remarkable abilities even without