Although zombie pop culture is full of ceaseless references to our never ending search for brains there really isn’t enough information out there covering what makes us tick, which is why we were surprised to come across the following article: A Harvard Psychiatrist Explains Zombie Neurobiology. The article concerns a study by Dr. Steven C. Schlozman, an assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard University, in which he describes the science behind our “disease.” With his extensive background in neurobiology, he’s got some interesting ideas to explain away the more esoteric idiosyncrasies in our behavior. Or in layman’s terms – a smart guy thinks he can describe why we zombies feel the urge to rip the living limb from limb.
We here at For Zombies would like to present our own highly empirical take on things.
First up is the interaction of the amygdala and the frontal lobe. The amygdala is where all the base emotions begin – anger, fear and lust – they’re all here. Under normal functioning, the emotions well up from the amygdala, and are then tamped down by the anterior cingulate cortex before heading to the frontal lobe, allowing people to carefully consider their actions before actually following through with them. This is usually a good thing. In the case of zombies, however, the good doctor’s theory is that the tamping down and careful processing by the anterior cibulate cortex and the frontal lobe is not happening and we’re being driven by pure anger, making us hyper-aggresive towards you all.
While this sounds good, let’s take a reality check. Do these zombie look angry to you?
Not too bright and a little slack-jawed maybe, but definitely not angry.
Let’s be clear. We’re not attacking you because we’re pissed-off. We’re just really, really hungry and we’ve got a slight hankering for meat. This does not mean that we’re out of control, though. In private, we often like to season our meat before we eat it.
Note in the above picture from Grilling for Zombies that our hapless griller has the salt grinder upside down. Dr. Schlozman has an excellent explanation for this. In our case, he points out that the basal ganglia which helps with coordinated movement and the cerebellum which helps with balance are very likely not doing their jobs.
Okaaaayyy – yes, we admit it – zombies are clumsy. We’re not proud of it – but there it is. Score one for academia.
While we might not fully agree with the doctor’s conclusions, the article did make for an interesting read and we would certainly enjoy the opportunity to have a sit down with him. We could probably get him to see things from our point of view in no time at all.