The more variable a brain is and the more its different parts frequently connect with each other, the higher a person’s intelligence quotient (IQ) and creativity are, researchers have revealed for the first time.
In a bid to unlock the secrets of the human brain, a team of researchers led by the University of Warwick quantified the brain’s dynamic functions, identifying how different parts of the brain interact with each other at different times to discover how the intellect works.
“Advanced brain imaging techniques in our study has helped us gain insights and inform developments in artificial intelligence as well as help establish the basis for understanding and diagnosis of debilitating human mental disorders such as schizophrenia and depression,” explained Professor Jianfeng Feng from the department of computer science studies at Warwick.
Using resting-state MRI analysis on thousands of people’s brains around the world, the researchers found that the areas of the brain which are associated with learning and development show high levels of variability, meaning that they change their neural connections with other parts of the brain more frequently, over a matter of minutes or seconds.
On the other hand, regions of the brain which aren’t associated with intelligence — the visual, auditory and sensory-motor areas — show small variability and adaptability.
Currently, AI systems do not process the variability and adaptability that is vital, as evidenced by Professor Jianfeng’s research, to the human brain for growth and learning.
This discovery of dynamic functions inside the brain could be applied to the construction of advanced artificial neural networks for computers, with the ability to learn, grow and adapt.
This study may also have implications for a deeper understanding of another largely misunderstood field: mental health.
Altered patterns of variability were observed in the brain’s default network with schizophrenia, autism and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) patients.
Knowing the root cause of mental health defects brings scientists exponentially closer to treating and preventing them in the future. The paper is forthcoming in the journal Brain.