Science

The prefrontal cortex and its role in brain training

By
Nick White
The prefrontal cortex is vital to living and functioning at one's peak.

We are often asked about the science behind the design and function of the Thinkie sensor. In an effort to provide context, let's start with a brief recap of brain topography and the central role of the prefrontal cortex in executive function.

The brain is divided into three major parts:  

  • The cerebrum
  • The cerebellum
  • The brainstem
The human cerebrum (facing leftward) comprises all elements in this diagram except the cerebellum and brainstem, located at the bottom of the image.

The cerebrum accounts for about 80% of the total weight of the brain. It has four regions:

  • The frontal lobe: mainly controls thoughts, judgments, and actions
  • The parietal lobe: mainly controls perception and sensation
  • The occipital lobe: mainly controls vision
  • The temporal lobe: mainly controls the ability to hear and remember

The prefrontal cortex is the area that occupies most of the frontal lobe. It constitutes one of the major differences between the human and animal brain.

Compared to the human prefrontal cortex, which accounts for about 30% of the cerebrum, an animal’s equivalent region of the brain is quite small. Even in chimpanzees, which are believed to have the largest prefrontal cortex, the prefrontal cortex only takes up 7-10% of their cerebrum.

The role of the prefrontal cortex is to think, remember, generate ideas, control emotions, make judgments, and apply knowledge, all of which are essential functions for humans. In other words, it is the most fundamental part of the brain that enables our humanity.

Strengthening the prefrontal cortex may improve the speed of brain processing, such as quick calculations and a sharp memory, but may also have a positive impact on daily life, work, and study. In order to live a fulfilling life, it is beneficial to maintain a well-functioning prefrontal cortex.

The key to brain training is activation of the prefrontal cortex

With the understanding that brain training can improve cognitive function, how can we maximize the efficacy of that training?

Professor Ryuta Kawashima's previous research has suggested that the key is activation of the prefrontal cortex during brain training. In this context, "activation" refers to the condition in which the brain is working well and is under moderate load.

Conversely, if the brain's prefrontal cortex is not activated, it is difficult to get the most out of training, no matter how much you train.

Until now, however, the only way to measure brain activity -- which is invisible to oneself and casual observers -- was to spend time at universities and other research institutions using large research equipment such as fMRI machines. This is why Thinkie has developed the ultra-compact brain activity sensor, which makes it possible to monitor brain activity anywhere, at any time.

Activation of the prefrontal cortex is the key to brain training.

Using the Thinkie sensor allows you to see the activity level of your brain in real time. When combined with our proven brain training games and customized training system, you can ensure that your training efforts are meaningful and effective.

Thinkie is your partner in cognitive health and brain function. Our software is designed and rigorously tested by neuroscientists to strengthen the prefrontal cortex efficiently and enjoyably. Our unique sensor provides real-time feedback so you know just how hard you’re training your brain at any given moment.

Find out more about Thinkie and join our waitlist today!

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