The cosmos is gigantic. But the inner frontier, the brain's potential for the imagination, supercedes it.

Contrary to myth, the brain's plasticity exists into old age and is highly adaptable to change.

Frequently the brain is easily misled, but the organ's deep intellect is priceless in scope: self-contained, logical, and adroit in subordinate tasks skilled for its purpose.

In the mental soup of the mind lies deception, illusion, intuition, ingenuity...and, of course, the sublime.

Ponder these odd bits about the mind...

If you clasp your hands, your right hand's pinky will fall above, or below, your left hand's pinky. That's your natural hand clasp. If you clasp otherwise, the feeling is unnatural. Regardless of left-or-right-handedness, people will choose one preference over another. The reason: genes.

Sit down and lift your right foot, moving it in clockwise circles. Simultaneously, lift your right hand and draw the number "6" in the air. Your foot will change direction, and you won't be able to control it.

Cross your index and middle finger. Slowly run the small "gap" between your crossed fingers along the ridge and around the tip of your nose. You should feel two "phantom" noses under the tips of your index and middle fingers. Apparently, your motor-brain is tricked into thinking that each finger is touching a separate nose!

Next time you cut something with a pair of scissors, pay attention to your jaw. The "mouth" and "hand" regions are mapped so closely together on your brain, that working a pair of scissors usually causes an unconscious clenching and unclenching of your jaws -- as if echoing the movements of your fingers.

The spasmodic exhortations of laughter are known to aid in digestion, to increase the body's endorphins, and to bolster one's immunity to sickness. A range of studies also indicate that laughter -- like yawning -- is generally contagious. It also feels good.

In one study of laughter, the subjects were exposed to a pair of reports: one serious, the other humorous. Later they were told to smile or frown. When they frowned, they could more easily recall the serious report. When they smiled, they could more easily recall the humorous report. The general conclusion: facial expression, the release of emotional feeling, and mental acuity are likely all related.

A phantom limb is often felt after amputation of a limb. Lord Nelson, who lost his real arm in battle, once remarked that a phantom limb must be proof of a soul -- for if an arm can "exist" after physical annihilation, why not the whole body? Some phantom limbs can "move" while others feel paralyzed. Neurologists speculate that the "paralyzed" phantoms had pre-existing nerve damage, or were held immobile in a sling, prior to amputation, while the "mobile" phantoms did not suffer this condition.

Eye color does not change with age -- it's an illusion, caused by the pupil shrinking so that the surrounding eye (eg., the iris) appears brighter. The pupil of the eye enlarges when it looks at something interesting, such as a pretty landscape. Blue-eyed people see better in the dark than others.

Rejection can dramatically reduce a person's IQ and their ability to reason analytically, while increasing their aggression, according to new research.

The more that is learned about the human brain, the bigger the mystery appears. As you probe deeper into the X-files of conceptual thought, the more you understand that nothing is declassified.

The cosmos is large, no question about that.

But the mind is bigger.

Author's Bio: 

John DiPrete is the Webmaster/Curator of www.mindbluff.com and www.quizstop.com, fun sites about Psychology. His academic work has been published in Perceptual and Motor Skills, Speculations in Science and Technology, The Indian Journal of Theoretical Physics, as well as other journals. His popular articles have appeared in Games Magazine, MacWorld, Redbook, The Journal of Recreational Mathematics, and Movie Collector's World, among other publications.