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The Zombie Brain at Work

Two neuroscientists explain.

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Illustration by Kagan Mcleod  

“Zombies have attention-locking problems. When they see something, they fixate. It resembles damage to the parietal lobe (1)—a condition called Bálint’s syndrome. So a zombie will fixate on you, but if you can distract it, it might lose track of you entirely. Zombies are stiff and have balance problems because of damage to the cerebellum (2). It’s the same way you feel when you’re really drunk—you’re suppressing the cerebellum too.” —Timothy Verstynen, Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition

“In a human, the brain stem, at the top of the spinal cord, is responsible for the core functions of life—respiration, heartbeat. But since zombies don’t breathe or have heartbeats, the core function of the zombie’s existence is controlled by the part of the brain that controls appetite: the hypothalamus (3). If you hit a zombie right between the eyes with enough force, you can go straight back horizontally into the hypothalamus.” —Bradley Voytek


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