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Brain Scans May Help Guide Career Choice 133

GisG writes "General aptitude tests and specific mental ability tests are important tools for vocational guidance. Researchers are now asking whether performance on such tests is based on differences in brain structure, and if so, can brain scans be helpful in choosing a career? In a first step, researchers writing in the open access journal BMC Research Notes have investigated how well eight tests used in vocational guidance correlate to gray matter in areas throughout the brain." The researcher's (provisional) paper is available as a PDF.
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Brain Scans May Help Guide Career Choice

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  • Asimov's Profession (Score:2, Interesting)

    by freefrag ( 728150 ) on Thursday July 22, 2010 @02:16PM (#32993418)
    Sounds like the first step towards Asimov's future of being educated by tape, because some people's brain patterns are suited to different professions.
  • by rolfwind ( 528248 ) on Thursday July 22, 2010 @02:24PM (#32993530)

    I hope so, America's one size fits all education until college isn't that great imo, many European countries at least section you off by scholastic aptitude after middleschool (don't worry, there are plenty room for latebloomers to achieve).

    Not everyone will become or even wants to be an astronaut and are perfectly happy as a mechanic or something.

  • by H0p313ss ( 811249 ) on Thursday July 22, 2010 @02:29PM (#32993606)

    "Alpha children wear grey. They work much harder than we do, because they're so frightfully clever. I'm awfully glad I'm a Beta, because I don't work so hard. And then we are much better than the Gammas and Deltas. Gammas are stupid. They all wear green, and Delta children wear khaki. Oh no, I don't want to play with Delta children. And Epsilons are still worse. They're too stupid to be able to read or write. Besides they wear black, which is such a beastly color. I'm so glad I'm a Beta."

    - Aldous Huxley [], Brave New World [], Ch. 2 (quotes [])

  • Hmm... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Thursday July 22, 2010 @02:34PM (#32993714) Journal
    Correlating brain scans with questionnaires is cute and all, and has the advantage of being relatively quick; but suffers from the major disadvantage of being(at best) able to duplicate the accuracy of an existing(cheap, paper-based) test.

    Obviously, progress is frequently made up of steps that don't make much sense on their own, since they don't yet improve on the status quo; but something as pricey as brain imaging is completely pointless unless it can exceed the performance of paper, not just correlate with it.
  • Improving on Zero (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dorpus ( 636554 ) on Thursday July 22, 2010 @03:01PM (#32994130)

    I took a career aptitude test in the early 90s, and it told me my aptitudes were pretty much exactly in the center between various career fields. In a word, it was worthless.

    Many people in the 90s were also eager to recommend "What Color Is Your Parachute?" They ask a lot of simplistic questions like "Are you a people person? yes or no." It was worthless also. I've met multiple college career counselors also, and none of them had the slightest clue what they were talking about.

    Do any of these aptitude models take into account that interests shift over time? We are not insects that are hard-wired to do particular tasks. My career has taken me through various nooks and crannies ranging from radio station support staff, law enforcement, jet engine factories, to hospital transplant centers, and presently I am getting a PhD in a statistics.

  • by peter303 ( 12292 ) on Thursday July 22, 2010 @03:11PM (#32994274)
    He invented phrenology [], the science of deducing aptitude from skull shape. Phrenology has been modernized by technology, but not verified. Franz could only use the primitive version of skull shape.

"An open mind has but one disadvantage: it collects dirt." -- a saying at RPI