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You Are Who You Are by Default

It may be off when you’re on, but the brain network behind daydreams and a sense of self is no slacker

2:19pm, July 3, 2009

You may not be riding the latest social wave on Facebook or MySpace, or tweeting your every impulse to fans on Twitter. But your brain is hooked on networking.

Vision works because different brain regions link up to connect the dots of light and color into a meaningful picture of the world. Language depends on networks of neural circuitry that make sense of the words you hear or see and that help you generate your side of the conversation. Networks of nerves control the motion of your muscles, allowing you to move smoothly and, when necessary, swiftly.

Networks are the “in” thing for brain scientists, as surely as they have been for online social butterflies.

Scientists learn about the brain’s networks by asking people to perform all sorts of mental acrobatics — interpreting optical illusions, solving riddles, taking tests of mental or muscular skills. But some neuroscientists think they can learn even more about the brain by asking volu

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