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If we are our brains, and our brains know how they work, this means that this information is stored somewhere in the brain, like the inferior temporal cortex is the part of the brain that recognizes numbers. Where is knowledge of how the brain works stored?

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Nowhere special, I'm sure. This knowledge isn't innate or functional in a simple, direct way like a pattern recognition process. It isn't that numbers are stored in the inferior temporal gyrus BTW; there's an important difference between information storage and information processing. Processing structures are often localized, but memory seems to be stored more diffusely. – Nick Stauner Aug 12 '14 at 21:05
@NickStauner I know the difference betwwen storage and process information. But doubt is about, for example, how the brain know when you look a number, this information must be sent to certain part of the brain and not to another. – Only a Curious Mind Aug 13 '14 at 11:35
I'm not certain that anything is "stored" anywhere in the brain, but rather assembled or constructed may be better choices of words. – Teusz Aug 13 '14 at 12:59
Our brains don't know how they work any more than a windmill or a solar cell or a dishwasher need to know how they work in order to work – honi Nov 18 at 17:58

3 Answers 3

up vote 2 down vote accepted

I think that you focus this question in the wrong way. There is no place in the brain where the "instructions" are stored. The brain don't need "know" how it works to work. The way in that the brain works is an emergence from the structure and the biological dynamics. All of this is based in all the layers of biological computation (genetic/molecular/cellular/organ/...) and the interaction with the environment. So there is no a particular place, if you want to discover how the brain works you must to study all the system.

Actually we can built iterative process that show complex behaviors but the laws that control this behavior is implicit and is not stored in the result. See The game of the life.

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Good answer Kato, welcome to cogsci.SE! Citations where the original asker could learn more about any given statement would improve this answer even further. – Krysta Sep 2 '14 at 13:59
Thanks for the answer. can you inform the links where I can read more about this? – Only a Curious Mind Sep 2 '14 at 17:02
Thanks, You could read more about the Game of the life Wikipedia. This only demonstrate that the complex behaviors could appear from simple implicit rules. If you want to more about how the brain works like a network I recommend this book Another nice textbook is this one but is only in Spanish I think. You could look for cognitive neuroscience books. – Kato Sep 3 '14 at 0:47
@OnlyaCuriousMind In response to the question in the comment above (I don't have enough reputation), the brain at first don't recognize the number, recognize the form. This information is processed in Visual areas like a pattern and then the cells that are involved in the formation of this pattern are also connected with other cells that compute this pattern (work with the number). This computation at the end form a behavior related with the pattern. I you want to understand this you must study Neuroscience Computational also.project – Kato Sep 3 '14 at 0:56
@Kato Thanks! this was of great help for me to know where to start reading and researching more thoroughly – Only a Curious Mind Sep 3 '14 at 12:43

This type of knowledge is known as "semantic memory"; a type of "declarative memory". We don't yet know where semantic memory is stored in the brain, although there is evidence that hippocampal and/or parahippocampal structures are required to store semantic memory.

The fine details of exactly what a "memory" is in terms of neurobiology, where and how it is stored, and how it is retrieved is an area of neuroscience that is currently under very active research. However, our knowledge is very rudimentary at present.

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Generally speaking, Kato's answer is good. I'd like to add that there is a fascinating way in which the brain understands other brains - also called mindreading or theory of mind (the basis for empathy). This process is heavily reliant on the sensory modalities. When you put yourself in someone else's shoes, your brain attempts to imagine their experiences (including their emotions). This consists of a reactivation of various aspects of your own previous sensory experiences, in an attempt to simulate their state of mind. The brain does this all the time, but especially when it is trying to understand other brains. Of course, this isn't the only mechanism at work - more logical modes of thought probably also play a role. For a discussion of this, see

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