Lecture (Level 3) – What is so special about the human brain?

by Suzana Herculano-Houzel

Associate Professor at the Federal University of Rio De Janeiro.  She is the author of six books on  the neuroscience of everyday life.  Suzana also appears on TV as the host of Neurologica.


First preview the vocabulary below.  Then do the exercise by first reading a single question and then listening for the answer.  When you hear the answer, pause the video and answer the question.  Then read the next question and do the same thing.  If you get the answer wrong, then go back to where the answer is given and listen again.

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mammalian:  of mammals, the kind of animal that includes dogs, horses and humans
neurons:  brain cells
proportional:  equal
cognitive ability:  brain power
cerebral cortex:  the front part of the brain
complex:  complicated, not simple
vexing:  annoying
calories:  units of food energy
evolution:  the slow changing of an animal species
more modest:  smaller
literature:  written things about a topic
dissolving:  disappearing in tiny pieces in water
nuclei:  the center parts of cells [singular = nucleus]
agitate:  shake
homogeneous:  being the same throughout the mixture
rodents:  animals such as rats or mice
primates:  animals such as monkeys, apes and humans
calculate:  find the answer using math
generic: typical
function of:  result of
raw:  uncooked
limitation:  anything that limits something else
feeding:  eating
feasible:  practical or possible
liability:  negative thing
asset:  positive thing
© 2014 Ambien Malecot