News From the College of Arts and Science

Total number of neurons—not enlarged prefrontal region—hallmark of human brain

Suzana HerculanoA new scientific study puts the final nail in the coffin of a long-standing theory to explain human’s remarkable cognitive abilities: that human evolution involved the selective expansion of the brain’s prefrontal cortex.

It does so by determining that the prefrontal region of the brain which orchestrates abstract thinking, complex planning and decision making contains the same proportion of neurons and fills the same relative volume in non-human primates as it does in humans.

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Hot Streak

Temple BakerTemple Baker, BA’15, is not your typical Hollywood success story. He wasn’t a child star, shuffled from audition to audition by pushy parents, nor did he have much interest in becoming an actor during college. In fact, his only real stage experience was a fourth-grade production of Romeo and Juliet, in which all his lines were cut. But that didn’t stop Oscar-nominated director Richard Linklater from casting the 2015 Vanderbilt graduate in his latest film, Everybody Wants Some!!—a “spiritual sequel” to his 1993 cult classic Dazed and Confused—about a college baseball team in Texas in the ’80s.

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