A Caltech Library Service

Delineation of separate brain regions used for scientific versus engineering modes of thinking

Patterson, Clair C. (1994) Delineation of separate brain regions used for scientific versus engineering modes of thinking. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 58 (15). pp. 3321-3327. ISSN 0016-7037.

Full text is not posted in this repository. Consult Related URLs below.

Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


Powerful, latent abilities for extreme sophistication in abstract rationalization as potential biological adaptive behavioral responses were installed entirely through accident and inadvertence by biological evolution in the Homo sapiens sapiens species of brain. These potentials were never used, either in precursor species as factors in evolutionary increase in hominid brain mass, nor in less sophisticated forms within social environments characterized by Hss tribal brain population densities. Those latent abilities for unnatural biological adaptive behavior were forced to become manifest in various ways by growths in sophistication of communication interactions engendered by large growths in brain population densities brought on by developments in agriculture at the onset of the Holocene. It is proposed that differences probably exist between regions of the Hss brain involved in utilitarian, engineering types of problem conceptualization-solving versus regions of the brain involved in nonutilitarian, artistic-scientific types of problem conceptualization-solving. Populations isolated on separate continents from diffusive contact and influence on cultural developments, and selected for comparison of developments during equivalent stages of technological and social sophistication in matching 4000 year periods, show, at the ends of those periods, marked differences in aesthetic attributes expressed in cosmogonies, music, and writing (nonutilitarian thinking related to science and art). On the other hand the two cultures show virtually identical developments in three major stages of metallurgical technologies (utilitarian thinking related to engineering). Such archaeological data suggest that utilitarian modes of thought may utilize combinations of neuronal circuits in brain regions that are conserved among tribal populations territorially separated from each other for tens of thousands of years. Such conservation may not be true for neuronal circuits involved in nonutilitarian modes of thought. It is postulated that neuronal circuits involved in nonutilitarian modes of thought are located in specific regions of the brain that are divergent features between populations that have been territorially separated for tens of thousands of years. Anatomical PET and NMRI studies of brains of modern descendants of these cultures are proposed that would seek to define these inferred differences through proper protocols of stimulation devised by those investigators.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Additional Information:© 1994 Elsevier Science Ltd. Received July 26, 1993; accepted in revised form April 22, 1994.
Issue or Number:15
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20131211-134640153
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Clair C. Patterson, Delineation of separate brain regions used for scientific versus engineering modes of thinking, Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, Volume 58, Issue 15, August 1994, Pages 3321-3327, ISSN 0016-7037, (
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:42962
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:17 Dec 2013 00:09
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 06:03

Repository Staff Only: item control page