By Pavithra Mohan

The phrase “no-brainer” is all too commonplace, but most people understand that without our brains we’d all be piles of slushy vegetative mush. YouTube educational channel VSauce looks to enlighten us on the inner workings of the mystical human brain, with host Michael pontificating on whether or not the term no-brainer is entirely unfounded.

He starts by describing “Mike the headless chicken”, whose decapitation didn’t stop him from clucking about for another 18 months. Here’s the catch though—while he didn’t have a head per se, he did retain part of his brain stem, which would likely explain why he was able to walk and perch and fascinate onlookers countrywide. So it wasn’t a legitimate no-brainer.

Michael goes on to explain how a cockroach is a more accurate portryal of a no-brainer given that it can breathe and move without its brain and, as such, live for weeks until it starves to death.

Human reflexes, he says, do somewhat fall under the category of no-brainers in the sense that they don’t require direct communication with the brain and instead divert control to the nervous system—but they do still require that you be alive and functional at the behest of thy holy brain.

So what now? Do we all have to wait till we’re dead to experience a true no-brainer? Is it even a no-brainer if you’re no longer alive to give input? Is this getting really frighteningly existential? Check out VSauce’s video to find out! (We hear pooping is a no-brainer candidate…)