The diversity of the human brain

How an individual's mind is mapped is associated with levels of verbal intelligence and conscious cognition

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As individuals we all have a different take on and response to life and the experience of sound, sight, smell, sensation and taste affect our perception of the world. In an anaesthesia study led by Lorina Naci from the Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience in Ireland, the research team wanted to identify whether there is a common mechanism responsible for processing information and cognition in healthy conscious human brains. To identify this mechanism, they studied how the auditory and fronto-parietal network of the brain functions at an unconscious level, by monitoring participants with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). 

A five minute kidnapping scene from the movie ‘Taken' was played as a narrative to two groups of people: Group 1 were healthy individuals under induced anesthesia and Group 2 were patients unconscious due to severe brain injury. The first group responded to questions about the movie narrative a few weeks later. The results from the study showed how the different patterns of activity displayed by the connections of the auditory and fronto-parietal network across individuals, plays an important role in the verbal intelligence and conscious cognition of every one of us.  

Read the full article "Functional diversity of brain networks supports consciousness and verbal intelligence" available via Scientific Reports.

Gabrielle Ahern

Managing Editor, npj Science of Learning Community

I am based in Queensland, Australia, and have an interesting portfolio of skills, experience and qualifications in science research and content creation.