Network neuroscience theory – the best predictor of intelligence

human brain networks

Intelligence is the flexibility to amass, perceive and apply data and abilities with a purpose to adapt to new conditions and clear up issues. It’s a advanced trait that’s influenced by each genetic and environmental elements and may present itself in quite a lot of methods, similar to in reasoning, problem-solving, creativity and studying.

Researchers have been working for a few years to know the connection between mind construction, practical connectivity, and intelligence. A current examine supplies essentially the most complete understanding but of how totally different areas of the mind and neural networks contribute to an individual’s means to unravel issues in quite a lot of contexts, a trait generally known as common intelligence.

The researchers not too long ago revealed their findings within the journal Mapping the human mind.

The analysis was led by Aaron Barbie, professor of psychology, bioengineering, and neuroscience on the College of Michigan College of Illinois Urbana-Champaignand first writer Evan Anderson, a researcher at Ball Aerospace and Applied sciences Corp. who works on the Air Power Analysis Laboratory, used “neural network-based predictive modeling” expertise to judge 5 theories about how the mind drives intelligence.

Aaron Barbie

College professor Aaron Barbey, pictured, and co-author Evan Anderson, discovered that bearing in mind options of all the mind — somewhat than specializing in particular person areas or networks — permits for essentially the most correct predictions of intelligence. Credit score: Fred Zwicky

“To know the exceptional cognitive talents that underlie intelligence, neuroscientists look to their organic underpinnings within the mind,” Barbie mentioned. “Current theories try to elucidate how our means to unravel issues is enabled by the construction of knowledge processing within the mind.”

Evan Anderson

Lead examine writer Evan Anderson. credit score: l. Brian Stauffer

Anderson mentioned {that a} organic understanding of those cognitive talents requires “a characterization of how particular person variations in intelligence and problem-solving means relate to the underlying construction and neural mechanisms of mind networks.”

Traditionally, theories of intelligence have targeted on native mind areas such because the prefrontal cortex, which performs a key function in cognitive processes similar to planning, problem-solving, and decision-making. Current theories emphasize particular mind networks, whereas others study how totally different networks overlap and work together with each other, Barbie mentioned. He and Anderson check these well-established theories in opposition to their very own “community neuroscience idea,” which posits that intelligence arises from the worldwide construction of the mind, together with its robust and weak connections.

“Sturdy connections contain extremely information-processing hubs which might be created as we be taught concerning the world and develop into adept at fixing acquainted issues,” Anderson mentioned. “Weak connections have fewer neural connections however enable for flexibility and flexibility in problem-solving.” Collectively, these connections present “the required community structure to unravel the varied issues we face in life.”

To check their concepts, the staff recruited a demographically various group of 297 undergraduate college students and first requested every participant to endure a complete set of assessments designed to measure problem-solving abilities and flexibility in numerous contexts. Barbie mentioned that these numerous comparable assessments are routinely used to measure common intelligence.

The researchers then mixed resting-state fMRI scans for every participant.

“One of many actually attention-grabbing traits of the human mind is the way it embodies a wealthy constellation of lively networks even once we are at relaxation,” Barbie mentioned. “These networks create the organic infrastructure of the thoughts and are considered intrinsic properties of the mind.”

These embrace the fronto-parietal community, which permits cognitive management and goal-directed decision-making; the dorsal consideration community which aids in visible and spatial consciousness; and the salient community, which directs consideration to essentially the most related stimuli. Barbie mentioned earlier research have proven that the exercise of those and different networks when an individual is awake however not engaged in a activity or listening to exterior occasions “reliably predicts our cognitive abilities and talents.”

By way of cognitive assessments and fMRI knowledge, the researchers have been capable of consider which theories greatest predicted how contributors would carry out on intelligence assessments.

“We will examine systematically how properly a idea predicts common intelligence based mostly on the connectivity of mind areas or networks that the idea entails,” Anderson mentioned. “This method allowed us to instantly examine the proof for the neuroscience predictions made by present theories.”

The researchers discovered that bearing in mind the options of the entire mind produces essentially the most correct predictions of an individual’s means to unravel issues and their means to adapt. This was true even when calculating the variety of mind areas included within the evaluation.

Different theories have been additionally predictive of intelligence, the researchers mentioned, however the community neuroscience idea outperformed that restricted to native mind areas or networks in quite a lot of respects.

Barbie mentioned the findings reveal that “international info processing” within the mind is central to how a person overcomes cognitive challenges.

“Somewhat than arising from a specific area or community, intelligence seems to emerge from the worldwide structure of the mind and displays the effectivity and adaptability of community perform on the system stage,” he mentioned.

Reference: “Investigating Cognitive Neuroscience Theories of Human Intelligence: A Neural Community-Based mostly Predictive Modeling Method” by Evan D. Anderson and Aaron Ok. Barbie, Dec. 20, 2022, Out there right here. Mapping the human mind.
DOI: 10.1002/hour per minute 26,164

The examine was funded by the Workplace of the Director of Nationwide Intelligence, the Intelligence Superior Analysis Initiatives Exercise, and the Division of Protection, the Protection Superior Analysis Initiatives Exercise.

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