Mergers and Acquisitions: The Brain Edition

Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

Every now and then we come upon the news of so-and-so company acquiring or merging with another company. This not only brings in more revenue but also heralds large scale expansions that are beneficial to the purchaser company. And no doubt a relief to the purchased company to be put to more efficient use.

While this might seem like a tough job best left to the C-Suite (CEO,CFO,COO..), our human bodies are no less enterprising. Our Brains, the top floor professionals donned up in serious grey suits, too on occasions decide to go on for some significant acquisitions.

This Acquisitions process in the brain is called ‘Cross-Modal Plasticity’, where upon realizing that one modality is in a state of sensory deprivation, the other modalities approach to coax and procure that region to process their own sensory information.

Our brain has organized regions assigned to process specific sensory information. Take for example the Occipital region, it houses the Visual Cortex that helps us see. When due to congenial blindness or damage to eyes result in visual deprivation(Blindness), the Occipital regions fail to receive any stimulation. In such a scenario many individuals who have lost their sight rely on learning and using Braille,which is tactile(touch) information.

The department that processes tactile(touch) information is the Somatosensory Cortex in the Parietal region. Studies prove that in blind people, the regions involved in touch perception, move to recruit the visual regions of the brain. Essentially meaning the visual processing areas that had no incoming input and stimulation, were, via the process of brain plasticity, recruited by the tactile information processing areas, that began additionally perceiving Braille. Possibly improving the tactile perceptual abilities of blind people above the capabilities of an average sighted person. I would definitely call THAT a successful acquisition!

I love communicating science, especially Cognitive Science. Tune in for bits of Cognitive Science simplified using everyday examples.