The Zombie Brain

By Dan Peterson

Just for fun, here is some work that Tim Verstynen and Bradley Voytek, two cognitive neuroscientists, are doing around the hypothetical “zombie brain”, which they are reverse engineering via observing the behavioral cues in zombie movies. Via Wired:

“When Tim and I were working on our neuroscience Ph.D.s at Berkeley we discovered a mutual love for the zombie genre,” Voytek said in an e-mail to Wired.com. “Over time (and probably beers) we started talking about what a zombie brain would ‘have to look like’ given their ‘observable behaviors’ in film.”

In their research, the scientists were able to determine that humans can exploit many zombie deficiencies. For example, abuse the undead’s poor motor skills by running fast, take advantage of their amnesia by hiding until they forget about you, or activate their Capgras delusions by mimicking their actions so they don’t attack you.

“This entire endeavor is partly an academic ‘what if’ exercise for us and partly a tongue-in-cheek critique of the methods of our profession of cognitive neuroscience,” Verstynen said.

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