Wonder what makes people smart, creative? Higher brain connectivity

  • PTI, London
  • Updated: Jul 20, 2016 10:55 IST
The more variable a brain is, and the more its different parts frequently interconnect, the higher a person’s IQ and creativity, claim researchers. (Shutterstock)

People whose different parts of the brain are well connected turn out to be smarter and more creative than others, claim scientists.

Led by Professor Jianfeng Feng of University of Warwick in the UK, researchers are trying to quantify the brain’s dynamic functions, and identify how different parts of the brain interact with each other at different times — to discover how intellect works.

Jianfeng finds that the more variable a brain is, and the more its different parts frequently connect with each other, the higher a person’s IQ and creativity.

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More accurate understanding of human intelligence could lead to future developments in artificial intelligence (AI), researchers said.

Currently, AI systems do not process the variability and adaptability that is vital to the human brain for growth and learning, they said.

This discovery of dynamic functions inside the brain could be applied to the construction of advanced artificial neural networks for computers, with the ability to learn, grow and adapt.

This study may also have implications for a deeper understanding of another largely misunderstood field: mental health.

The areas of the brain associated with learning and development show high levels of variability, making it easier for people to understand things. (Shutterstock)

Altered patterns of variability were observed in the brain’s default network with schizophrenia, autism and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) patients.

Knowing the root cause of mental health defects brings scientists exponentially closer to treating and preventing them in the future.

Using resting-state MRI analysis on thousands of people’s brains around the world, researchers found that the areas of the brain which are associated with learning and development show high levels of variability, meaning that they change their neural connections with other parts of the brain more frequently, over a matter of minutes or seconds.

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On the other hand, regions of the brain which are not associated with intelligence — the visual, auditory, and sensory-motor areas — show small variability and adaptability.

“Human intelligence is a widely and hotly debated topic and only recently have advanced brain imaging techniques, such as those used in our current study, given us the opportunity to gain sufficient insights to resolve this and inform developments in artificial intelligence, as well as help establish the basis for understanding and diagnosis of debilitating human mental disorders such as schizophrenia and depression,” Feng said.

The findings appear in the journal Brain.

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