How zombies work

In the latest bit of cool, but mostly frivolous, science – a Harvard Psychiatrist has explained how zombies work. Now we’ve got mathematical modeling of the zombie outbreak and an understanding of their headspace.

The Frontal Lobe

This part of the brain is involved with “executive functioning” – enabling us to think carefully and solve problems in an abstract way. Clearly, there’s not much going on there if you have the misfortune of being afflicted with living deadness. But we do know that zombies can see us and sense us. Schlozman concludes that zombies possess just enough frontal lobe activity to “listen” to the thalamus, through which sensory input is processed.

But the frontal lobe function most relevant to understanding zombie behavior is the control of “impulsivity”-the general term for when you do something and, if you had two more seconds, you might not have done it. For instance, if in a fit of rage you have the sudden urge to punch your boss in the face, the frontal lobe intervenes and allows you to consider why that might be a bad idea.

The Oatmeal has a nice graphical warning about the coming zombie apocalypse. It’ll be eye-opening. But it might contain some words you’ll find offensive – so be warned.