NOVA Online (see text links below)
Secrets of the Mind  

Probe the Brain Go to "Probe the Brain"

(Requires Shockwave plugin)

Probe the Brain

Beginning in the 1940s, Canadian brain surgeon Wilder Penfield mapped the brain's motor cortex—the area that controls the movement of your body's muscles. He did this by applying mild electric currents to the exposed brains of patients while they were in surgery.

Now you can relive his exploration of the brain. In the following feature we give you an electric probe and an exposed brain. All you need to do is shock and observe.
NOTE: The brain's motor cortex—the subject of this feature—controls body movements. Adjacent to the motor cortex is the "somatosensory cortex," which is the area of the brain that receives sensations from the body. In the program "Secrets of the Mind," Dr. Ramachandran's discussion deals with the somatosensory cortex.

Shockwave is a plug-in that allows for increased interactivity. If you can see the animated boxes at left, the plugin is already installed. If you do not see the boxes, you can install the Shockwave plugin or select this feature's non-Shockwave version.

This activity and its related text first appeared in the You Try It section of the A Science Odyssey Web site. Go to You Try It to access other interactive features including Atom Builder, DNA Workshop, Human Evolution, and Technology at Home.

Printer-Friendly Format   Feedback
Visual Mind Games | From Ramachandran's Notebook | The Electric Brain | Probe the Brain
Resources | Teacher's Guide | Transcript | Site Map | Secrets of the Mind Home

Search | Site Map | Previously Featured | Schedule | Feedback | Teachers | Shop
Join Us/E-Mail | About NOVA | Editor's Picks | Watch NOVAs online | To print
PBS Online | NOVA Online | WGBH

© | Updated October 2001
Shop Teachers Feedback Schedule Previously Featured Site Map Search NOVA Home Secrets of the Mind Home Site Map