The brain has a personality that influences intelligence, a new study has found.
The way humans think, talk and act are all dictated by their own individual personality traits. Some people are quiet and laid-back, while some are very outgoing and prefers socializing with different people.
These different traits may also be applied to the brain and in a new study; researchers have found that it affects brain anatomy and cognition such as memory and intelligence.
How can a person be intelligent and why are some people more intelligent than others?
Cognitive neuroscientists have long been studying about these questions. In fact, most of their studies center on understanding how individual differences in brain structure and function affect a person's level of intelligence.
They tried to find links between specific regions in the brain and mental mechanisms such as memory or general intelligence. However, they are yet to fuse in-depth measures of brain structure and function into one solid analysis.
Looking At The Brain
The study led by Aron K. Barbey from the University of Illinois measured sizes and investigated shape features throughout the brain.
The team looked into nerve fiber bundles, volume, thickness, blood flow and white matter zones, says first author Patrick Watson from Beckman Institute. Aside from those, they also studied cognitive factors such as working memory and executive functions such as planning and organizing skills.
In the end, Barbey says they were able to determine cognitive and anatomical features that foresee overall intelligence. They were also able to identify specific changes in a particular brain system that is vital to intelligence: a brain region called fronto-parietal network.
The Power Of Four
The team categorized associated measures into four distinct traits using a statistical method called independent component analysis. These four traits are said to demonstrate most of the dissimilarities in the structure of individual brains. The said differences were mostly driven by structure features such as size, shape and even age.
As they investigate, the researchers found that the four traits were not able to explain the cognitive distinctiveness between individuals. With this, they studied these brain differences, which mostly accounted for intelligence and memory.
In the end, the researchers deem the four traits as unique measures to study how brains differ between individuals. This discovery may help scientists examine little differences connected to cognitive abilities.
"Brains are as different as faces, and this study helped us understand what a 'normal' brain looks like," says Watson.
The study was published in the journal NeuroImage.
Photo: Neil Conway| Flickr