3) Functions are distributed in the brain (Flourens – 1824, Lashley – 1929)
Flourens found that it did not matter where he lesioned inside cortex; what mattered was how much he lesioned. This suggested that functions were equally distributed (the law of equipotentiality) and widely distributed (the law of mass action) across cortex. Lashley updated this research by acknowledging localized functions in primary sensory-motor cortex (see tomorrow's entry), labeling the rest of cortex 'association cortex'.
Modern research has shown that Flourens and Lashley just weren't looking hard enough. Equipotentiality does not hold true (i.e, there is specialization within association cortex), but there is a great deal of mass action in the form of distributed network interaction across association cortex.
Implication: The mind is implemented in an electric organ with distributed function.
[This post is part of a series chronicling history's top brain computation insights (see the first of the series for a detailed description)]