Get your political jokes ready because this story is sure to generate tons of suggestions on how it can be beneficial to everyone in Washington, London, Beijing, Berlin, Pyongyang and anyplace else where people seem to be acting like monkeys. A team of neuroscientists has injected electronic instructions into the premotor cortex of monkeys that resulted in the animals getting instructions to complete actions without any other instructions, cues or stimuli. Can the instruction be to just shut up? “What we are showing here is that you don’t have to be in a sensory-receiving area in order for the subject to have an experience that they can identify.” In their study, published in the journal Neuron, neuroscientists Dr. Kevin A. Mazurek and Dr. Marc H. Schieber, describe how they used two rhesus monkeys to demonstrate how instructions can be sent to the premotor cortex using injections of electrical stimulus. The premotor cortex is part of the motor cortex in the brain’s frontal lobe that controls the planning, control, and execution of voluntary movements. The premotor cortex feeds directly to the spinal cord but its functions are not fully understood … which is why these two neurosurgeons met with two rhesus monkeys.
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