Neuroscientist Dr. Sam Wang discussed the human brain and how it's wired to experience various phenomena. Made of 3 lbs. of tissue with 100 billion neurons, the brain acts as an information processing device and filter. The truth is, we use all parts of our brain, not just 10% of it (a myth propagated by Dale Carnegie), he noted.
There is evidence that some types of criminals have had brain injuries to their prefrontal cortex which regulates self-control, he reported. Scans have also revealed brain differences between professional and amateur musicians-- the amateurs show more generalized activity in the brain, while professionals exhibit smaller, more localized areas of focus.
Near-death experiences might be related to a lack of oxygen in the brain, he suggested, noting that mountaineers often describe unusual sensations at high altitudes, such as seeing light coming out of their body and 'sensing a presence.' There is not strong evidence that supplements such as gingko are effective in improving brain function and memory, he said. But 'healthy heart' activities such as exercise and moderate wine consumption are also good for the brain, he added.