The function of the brain is based on the connections between nerve cells. The brains of creative people are wired differently than most, finds a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. People hadn’t been thinking about learning from such a network-scale perspective. It’s pure fantasy right now.
As a person learns, connections between regions in the brain can change. It really requires many different regions to be involved . In a few studies, researchers have witnessed this flexibility in action.
But new research shows this collection of nuclei can also influence positive social functions like kindness and what might be called charitable giving in humans. Such interpretations, however, are controversial. Our ability to learn, remember, problem solve, and speak are all cognitive functions related to different parts of our brain. To measure creativity and brain connections, the researchers scanned the brains of about 160 participants using functional magnetic resonance imaging ( fMRI ), a tool that monitors brain activity by measuring changes in blood flow in various areas the brain.
Brain networks captured by fcMRI are really about the individual, postdoctoral researcher and first author Caterina Gratton, Ph. D., Washington University, said.
With their heads inside the scanner, the participants were asked to perform a creative-thinking task called divergent thinking. The researchers found that music activates the brain, causing whole regions to communicate. But actually, there are two different types of brain plasticity at work on synapses. As a side effect, researchers can use this to watch patients think.
Scientists have developed an artificial intelligence system that can tell how smart a person is just by looking at a scan of the individual’s brain. In other words, the brain’s architecture may predetermine who will have trouble with reading, including children with dyslexia. Broca’s and Wernicke’s observations are well-known examples. However, the correlation between cognitive abilities and brain circuitry is still unclear. A brain-imaging study offers new support for the idea that infants can accurately track other people’s beliefs.
The researchers uncovered differences in how the brain processes visual information in patients with various types of lazy eye. The result shows that new treatments should also target higher-level processes such as attention, the researchers suggested. Researchers also found changes in the biology of Alzheimer’s disease associated with the season.
Researchers at the Center for Mind and Brain at the University of California, Davis have now been able to carry out functional MRI brain scans of sleeping toddlers, and show for the first time how specific brain regions are activated during memory recall in two-year-olds. In one study, subjects were given partial sentences to complete. They stated that their results are similar to the “general intelligence g-factor”, a person’s ability at different cognitive tasks. The next step, they say, is to implant electrodes. Activation of neighboring regions of the brain may also offer opportunities to delay the continued decline caused by the disease, researchers said.
Image Credits: Greg Dunn and Brian Edwards