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Intelligence Map Made From Brain Injury Data 102

An anonymous reader writes with this news out of the University of Illinois: "Scientists report that they have mapped the physical architecture of intelligence in the brain. Theirs is one of the largest and most comprehensive analyses so far of the brain structures vital to general intelligence and to specific aspects of intellectual functioning, such as verbal comprehension and working memory. Their study, published in Brain: A Journal of Neurology (abstract), is unique in that it enlisted an extraordinary pool of volunteer participants: 182 Vietnam veterans with highly localized brain damage from penetrating head injuries. ... The researchers took CT scans of the participants’ brains and administered an extensive battery of cognitive tests. They pooled the CT data to produce a collective map of the cortex, which they divided into more than 3,000 three-dimensional units called voxels. By analyzing multiple patients with damage to a particular voxel or cluster of voxels and comparing their cognitive abilities with those of patients in whom the same structures were intact, the researchers were able to identify brain regions essential to specific cognitive functions, and those structures that contribute significantly to intelligence."
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Intelligence Map Made From Brain Injury Data

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  • by Hartree ( 191324 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @03:52PM (#39635845)

    It's interesting work, but I think Barbey would agree with you that it's just a beginning. Some of the same questions came up in the question and answer section of a talk by him I went to a couple weeks ago.

    He just recently got here to the U of Illinois and is the head of a new neuroscience laboratory dealing with decision making, executive function and reasoning. []

    They have some interesting ideas for looking at the role of self deception in how we reason that hopefully will lead to some quite interesting work.

  • by Theovon ( 109752 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @04:00PM (#39635925)

    This study seems to be making the assumption that we all put the same brain functions in precisely the same places. But each individual has different intellectual strengths, weaknesses, and talents. Although I wouldn't say they shouldn't do this study, I fail to see how it would give us more than the coarsest understanding, biased based on the individual personalities of those tested.

"The following is not for the weak of heart or Fundamentalists." -- Dave Barry