Cephalopod brains are toroidal (high surface area to volume ratios!), with the esophagus passing through the, uh, donut hole; octopodes are very intelligent, particularly spatially.

Where can I find more information on the functional and anatomical comparisons between human and cephalopod brains, and its consequences for the cognitive abilities of both? Specifically questions like

  • How does the functional neuroanatomy of the cephalopod compare to human functional neuroanatomy?
  • How does cortical organization (both perpendicular to the surface and across the surface) between cephalopods and humans compare?
  • How do human spatial cognitive abilities differ from those of the octopus? (Somewhat akin to how the pigeon's object recognition capabilities are less dependent on canonical views of familiar objects than the human system.)

Bonus points for answer materials that are aimed at those with a knowledge of other neural systems, particularly human.

  • $\begingroup$ +1 honestly didn't think i'd read 'donut-hole' on here. Wish I could answer but don't know enough about this, interesting question! $\endgroup$
    – queenslug
    May 11, 2015 at 21:09
  • $\begingroup$ And article: cell.com/current-biology/abstract/S0960-9822(12)01064-0? $\endgroup$ May 21, 2015 at 7:49
  • $\begingroup$ @ChristianHummeluhr make that an answer so I can upvote it please! $\endgroup$
    – Krysta
    May 28, 2015 at 14:03

1 Answer 1


You could start with Hochner's papers, like this one:

Hochner, B., Shomrat, T., & Fiorito, G. (2006). The octopus: a model for a comparative analysis of the evolution of learning and memory mechanisms. The Biological Bulletin, 210(3), 308-317. http://www.biolbull.org/content/210/3/308.full

As far as I know, he is a world expert.


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