I was watching a documentary (don't remember the name or the URL to the documentary) but they stated that the brain is layered and that each new layer is placed on top of the last. So the most primitive part of the brain that sends a signal to move the fingers actually has no way of moving just one, but in fact sends a message to just open and close the hand. That message is then passed on to a newer part of the brain that then filters it into individual finger movements.

I would like to know if this is true and how is the newer layer of the brain able to take an open-close message and identify what finger to move.

This sounds like a strange way for the brain to work; as I'm typing this message out at 86wpm, how is my brain doing such a complex task of moving all my fingers from an open-close message?

  • $\begingroup$ What do you mean with layer? The layers I-VI of the somatosensory cortex? $\endgroup$
    – AliceD
    Nov 23 '16 at 14:42
  • $\begingroup$ That is how they described it. during documentary; they stated the brain is comprised of different layers that each evolved at different times. Good chance they were dumbing it down for the show. $\endgroup$ Nov 23 '16 at 14:50
  • $\begingroup$ If you want detailed scientific understanding, I recommend reading some basic neuroscience textbooks (and take a couple of online lectures) and then the book "The Sensory Hand Neural Mechanisms of Somatic Sensation" by V. B. Mountcastle. $\endgroup$
    – Memming
    Nov 23 '16 at 14:53
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the feedback. However, without the link I think this question can only be answered by guessing what was being said. Interpretation of complex matters like the evolution of the brain depend heavily on the context of the statements made. I'm voting to close therefore. If you find that link, I'm more than happy to vote for re-opening. $\endgroup$
    – AliceD
    Nov 23 '16 at 20:03
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    $\begingroup$ I'll try to find the link and include it in the question. Thank you for the feedback. $\endgroup$ Nov 28 '16 at 13:56