Next Post ›
The Brain Campaign: Medulla or Thalamus for President of the Brain
This is a paper I wrote for a college psychology course. I needed an easy elective credit, and ended up being one of a handful of seniors in an auditorium with over 300 freshmen. Needless to say, I struggled taking the class seriously. I received an A- on this paper, due mostly to the professor's surprise and amusement.

Medulla Oblongata and Thalamus are two of the human brain’s most important regions. However, only one of these regions can be elected “leader” of the brain. Both candidates are sure that the importance of their respective functions will put them on top come voting day.

The candidates have been campaigning for months now, and with the polls opening soon to the rest of the human body, Medulla and Thalamus hold one final public debate.

“Without me,” declares Thalamus, “eyes, ears and hands would be useless. I decipher sensory signals and act as a relay station to the rest of the brain. I ensure that we as a person are fully aware of our surroundings, and that we can interact with the world around us. I taste the flavor in our food, see the color around us, hear what’s coming, and feel what touches the skin. I then process this information in a matter of nanoseconds. I am also particularly adept at relaying instances of pain from the spinal cord, so that I can get us away from whatever is causing it. My slogan puts it best: ‘Have Some Senses: Vote Thalamus for Brain President.’”

“Your significance is undisputed,” replies Medulla, “but my function within the brain is much more important. If the heart couldn’t pump blood and the lungs couldn’t take in air, what good would sight do? This is where I come in. I ensure that our heart beats constantly and that the expansion of our lungs corresponds with it. I keep the body temperature at a normal level, either through sweating in heat or shivering in the cold, so that our organs don’t fail and we maintain normal body function.”

“Furthermore, people have been known to lead fulfilling lives without the use of senses such as sight or hearing. But as far as I know, I haven’t heard of anyone without a heartbeat who’s still alive. And believe me, if the entire brain had to consciously decide to keep the heart beating, none of us would last long.”

After the debate, Medulla passed out stickers and buttons to all his constituents:

“Medulla: Keeps You Going.”

The voters felt that the Medulla was the more qualified of the two regions to be elected as president, since its functions are absolutely vital to survival. Medulla won the election, and was promptly sworn in as president of the Brain.

After the election, Thalamus went to whatever part of the human body is comparable to Florida (probably one of the armpits) and demanded a recount.

Back to top  ↑