Imagine my surprise last night, when I saw a healthy dose of neuroscience specifically neuroanatomy in the latest installment of the #007 franchise. The movie had a limited release last night with it playing at all theaters in America today. The reviews are already out, so I am not in much danger of ruining the plot for anyone, and I will try my best not to.
Enter Fusiform gyrus
Role: Allows Bond’s brain to recognize faces, well, for Bond, the faces of those beautiful Bond women.
Imagine your world if your brain was functioning normally in every aspect except for facial recognition. You don’t recognize anyone and everyone is a stranger to you even though you see them and interact with them.
Now, in the movie, a menacing drill goes into Bond’s head, with the evil head of Spectre literally bringing a new meaning to the sentence,” I am the man in your head.” He wanted to punish Bond by taking away his ability to remember faces, a horrible punishment if your memories of people in your life are important to you.
Then again, there are probably some faces you would like to forget, but that has deep implications on moral and ethical level. Other movies that dealt with this subject include Jim Carrey’s Eternal Sunshine of the spotless mind.
So, the question is as we get closer each day to understanding the brain at a deeper level is, do we want the ability to control our memories?
It is an important area of research in PTSD, to prevent the harmful effects of really traumatic memories.
The sickening feeling you feel in your stomach when you suddenly see a picture of your ex or someone who hurt you deeply is a physiological reaction coming from the brain because of the association of terrible memories with the image or person.
Traumatic memories whether you would like to admit it or not, do shape us and affect us deeply at our sub conscious level.
Check out this journal article on PTSD research http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11682-015-9444-y
Now, back to the movie :), I cannot tell you if the needle went exactly in the right place or what happens next but do go check out the movie.