Brain mapping attempts to relate the brain’s structure to its function, or finding what parts give us certain abilities.

In mapping brain functions, scientists use imaging to watch the brain working on various tasks.

Brain mapping also looks from the outside in. It examines how our environment changes our brain’s structure by studying, for instance, how the brain changes physically through the learning and aging processes. Brain mapping also examines what goes wrong physically in the brain during mental illnesses and other brain diseases.

Finally, brain mapping aims to give us a thorough picture of our brain’s structure.  Google Earth shows us satellite images of our planet and zooms in to continents, countries, states, cities, highways, streets and buildings. A complete structural map of our brain might be similar. It could show us our whole brain; all the regions, functional lobes, specialized centers, thick neuron “bundles” connecting brain parts, neuron circuits, single neurons, junctions between neurons and finally, neuron parts. Scientists are still developing the parts that might form this massive map.

Brain mapping is a collection of many different tools. Researchers must collect images of the brain, turn those images into data, and then use that data to analyze what happens in the brain as it develops.