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Because exploring all the facets of the brain is beyond the scope of this chapter, we'll focus on three relevant and essential features: These themes help to establish the nature of the brain: it is constantly working; it operates with a high level of structural cooperation; and seemingly simple processes, like learning to read, are actually highly complex.

This dynamic and versatile structure is unlike anything else on earth.

A single cubic millimeter (1/16,000th of an inch) of human brain tissue has more than 1 million neurons. The adult human brain weighs about three pounds (1,300–1,400 grams). The brain's various parts and its nerve cells are connected by nearly 1 million miles of nerve fibers.

The human brain has the largest area of uncommitted cortex (with no specific function identified so far) of any species on earth.

But the brain is much more than an anatomical structure; it is also an active processing center, always at work.

To begin learning about the brain, consider a grocery store's produce and dairy departments.

His studies (Landing, Shankle, Hara, Brannock, & Fallon, 2002) also show a 20 to 40 percent variance among humans, meaning the real numbers vary by billionsfrom one person to another. A more mainstream view is that we're born with about 150 to 200 billion neuron cells and keep about 100 billion of them.The brain is mostly water (78 percent), fat (10 percent), and protein (8 percent).From the outside, the brain's most distinguishing features are its convolutions, or folds.This gives humans extraordinary flexibility for learning.Scientists divide brain areas into lobes (see Figure 1.3).

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