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Volume 7 (2007), Pages 1922-1929
Review Article

Human Development XI: The Structure of the Cerebral Cortex. Are There Really Modules in the Brain?

1Quality of Life Research Center, Teglgårdstræde 4-8, DK-1452 Copenhagen K, Denmark
2Research Clinic for Holistic Medicine, Copenhagen, Denmark
3Nordic School of Holistic Medicine, Copenhagen, Denmark
4Scandinavian Foundation for Holistic Medicine, Sandvika, Norway
5Interuniversity College, Graz, Austria
6Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Behavioral Sciences, Ariel University Center of Samaria, Ariel, Israel
7National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Jerusalem, Israel

Received 19 January 2007; Revised 30 August 2007; Accepted 4 September 2007

Academic Editor: Joav Merrick

Copyright © 2007 Tyge Dahl Hermansen et al.


The structure of human consciousness is thought to be closely connected to the structure of cerebral cortex. One of the most appreciated concepts in this regard is the Szanthagothei model of a modular building of neo-cortex. The modules are believed to organize brain activity pretty much like a computer. We looked at examples in the literature and argue that there is no significant evidence that supports Szanthagothei's model. We discuss the use of the limited genetic information, the corticocortical afferents termination and the columns in primary sensory cortex as arguments for the existence of the cortex-module. Further, we discuss the results of experiments with Luminization Microscopy (LM) colouration of myalinized fibres, in which vertical bundles of afferent/efferent fibres that could support the cortex module are identified. We conclude that sensory maps seem not to be an expression for simple specific connectivity, but rather to be functional defined. We also conclude that evidence for the existence of the postulated module or column does not exist in the discussed material. This opens up for an important discussion of the brain as functionally directed by biological information (information-directed self-organisation), and for consciousness being closely linked to the structure of the universe at large. Consciousness is thus not a local phenomena limited to the brain, but a much more global phenomena connected to the wholeness of the world.