Have you ever wondered, how does the brain really visualize your body? And is there a way to check what the human body looks like for the brain? In the 1930s, while working on surgeries for patients with epilepsy, doctor Wilder Penfield decided to try something exciting.
While the brains were alive in his hands, Penfield decided to try to stimulate different areas of the brain with the aim of knowing which areas of the cerebral cortex were controlling the different organs in our bodies.
What Penfield reached was a very distorted picture of the human body, a map that became known as the Cortical homunculus.
The map represents the importance of the various organs in the human body from the perspective of the brain, as it actually shows the number of nerve connections between the brain and a specific organ in the body.
The reason behind this unequal representation of organs in the brain is that some organs play a more important role in capturing sensory information from the environment, while other organs play a less important role.
The hands and the face, for example, are very sensitive areas and so there are more nerve connections between them and the brain – so they appear more on the map.