Many previous maps of the brain have been built with just one type of data. The new map, described July 20 in Nature
, forms a holistic view of the brain
by combining several different types of information. These specs included how areas behaved while doing certain tasks or nothing at all, as well as detailed anatomical data about the shape and thickness of the brain. Using these metrics from 210 healthy people, neuroscientist David Van Essen of Washington University in St. Louis and colleagues found that each hemisphere contains 180 distinct areas (separated by black lines in image). In this view, colors show how tightly linked each area is to other brain areas that handle auditory (red), touch and movement (green) or visual (blue) information.