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Intelligence Map Made From Brain Injury Data

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the he-got-punched-in-the-math dept.

Science 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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First post voxel? (2)

jmerlin (1010641) | more than 2 years ago | (#39635545)

I believe mine is currently functioning as intended.

Re:First post voxel? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39635753)

I just smacked myself in the head with a baseball bat - Oh my God.... I think those are voxels coming out of my nose.

.

I tink i will goe to tea purty meeting now.

Re:First post voxel? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39635943)

erbama care hell no!

berf certificate! tower 7!

Oh, Journal paywalls... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39635607)

This is one of those fine moments when I wish scientific journals posted online weren't pay-walled. Kinda kills the dissemination of knowledge to the masses when one has to pay $32 to view a single article once, and makes it economically infeasable for an individual to read and verify the information they hear from primary sources.

Re:Oh, Journal paywalls... (1)

rodrigoandrade (713371) | more than 2 years ago | (#39635659)

I'm sure they'll port it to Linux soon, though.

Re:Oh, Journal paywalls... (1)

spottedkangaroo (451692) | more than 2 years ago | (#39635723)

You can probably get some or all of the papers on loan at libraries... My university library does this for journals to which I do have access through my university account. I'm sure public libraries can do it also.

Re:Oh, Journal paywalls... (2)

jandrese (485) | more than 2 years ago | (#39636149)

My public library can barely afford to keep the doors open even with severely reduced operating hours and staff. They're certainly not shelling out multi-thousands per year for scientific journal access.

Re:Oh, Journal paywalls... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39636221)

Then go set up a donation booth for them.

Re:Oh, Journal paywalls... (1)

jandrese (485) | more than 2 years ago | (#39636435)

They have plenty of those, thanks.

does it have an "interlibrary loan" person? (1)

decora (1710862) | more than 2 years ago | (#39638139)

my public library has an interlibrary loan department, they can get journal articles within a week or two through the ILL system. another library will fax your local library with a copy of the article for a $1 fee or something like that.

Re:does it have an "interlibrary loan" person? (1)

spottedkangaroo (451692) | more than 2 years ago | (#39651075)

That seems like a reasonable fee to me. the delay is annoying, but I believe you *can* get most of this information.

Re:Oh, Journal paywalls... (4, Informative)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#39636375)

While journal access is costly, most researchers post PDF reprints of their papers on their lab website. Google Scholar is pretty good at finding them. Here [decisionne...ncelab.org] is the PDF for this article. I expect this is not paywalled, but since I'm at an academic institution I can't be sure.

Re:Oh, Journal paywalls... (2)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 2 years ago | (#39636609)

It's open. Thanks!

Re:Oh, Journal paywalls... (1)

advocate_one (662832) | more than 2 years ago | (#39641429)

not only is it open... the fools haven't prevented directory crawling either... there's scads of pdfs in that directory... but then again, there's an actual index of them all with some clues of their contents here [decisionne...ncelab.org]

Re:Oh, Journal paywalls... (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 2 years ago | (#39643865)

No surprise there, the only reason you would want to squish directory listing is if you had "public" documents alongside "private" or other things you wouldn't want people to see. If all you have is a public listing of documents, leaving indexing turned on is a good thing.

Re:Oh, Journal paywalls... (1)

pxc (938367) | more than 2 years ago | (#39636401)

I found this PDF [decisionne...ncelab.org] through Google Scholar. Is it accessible to you?

Re:Oh, Journal paywalls... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39636439)

Common sense should tell you that anything you pay will be donated to those 182 Vietnam veterans.
NOT.

Re:Oh, Journal paywalls... (1)

Clogoddess (2591147) | more than 2 years ago | (#39636695)

Workaround suggestions miss the point. Anonymous Coward should be able to check the primary sources of our research. We have a firewall between our minds and our culture's information. AC BTW I watched the 2-minute video, it's a great triumph of voxel mapping, but not a great advance in knowledge. Skip it.

.sig (my views are better than your views)

Re:Oh, Journal paywalls... (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 2 years ago | (#39639597)

Go to a library is not a workaround suggestion. Neither is use Google Scholar.

Re:Oh, Journal paywalls... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39641303)

Yes, those are workaround solutions. If you had access to most journals without jumping through such hoops you'd understand what a pain in the ass jumping through hoops is.

Re:Oh, Journal paywalls... (1)

lennier (44736) | more than 2 years ago | (#39637411)

Kinda kills the dissemination of knowledge to the masses when one has to pay $32 to view a single article once

Knowledge? To the masses? But then they'll know things!

Re:Oh, Journal paywalls... (1)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 2 years ago | (#39641375)

Screw primary sources, I want someone to process it and give me a big glowey map of the brain, with all the functions listed. I had a stroke and may or may not have damaged the front portions of the right side. But nobody can tell me what I may have lost, or what could be broken. What I could see from the story indicates most of the good stuff was on the left side, so yay, I may be brain damaged in a way that isn't too noticeable.

Voxel (4, Informative)

proslack (797189) | more than 2 years ago | (#39635651)

A voxel is a 3D (volumetric) pixel.

Re:Voxel (3, Funny)

stevegee58 (1179505) | more than 2 years ago | (#39635783)

Not to be confused with Vauxhall

Re:Voxel (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39639083)

Not to be confused with a VAX haul, which takes up more garage space than a Vauxhall, which is only good for transporting the VAX haul.

Re:Voxel (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39636729)

I don't need some city slicker with a name like "proslack" telling me what a goddman Voxel is. I did two tours of duty in Command & Conquer.. I saw a lot in my time.

this looks shopped (1)

decora (1710862) | more than 2 years ago | (#39638169)

i can tell by some of the voxels and from having seen a lot of shops in my time (playing Commanche helicopter simulator in 1993)

OK... (3, Funny)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 2 years ago | (#39635679)

There's the map of The Brain; is anyone working on a map of Pinky?

Re:OK... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39635803)

There's the map of The Brain; is anyone working on a map of Pinky?

Are You Pondering What I'm Pondering?

Re:OK... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39636095)

Is this what we're going to do tonight, then afterwards, try to take over the world?

Re:OK... (4, Funny)

Bengie (1121981) | more than 2 years ago | (#39636139)

Uh, I think so, but how do we get Minecraft players inside someone's head to fix their voxels?

Re:OK... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39637383)

Are You Pondering What I'm Pondering?

Well, I think so, Brain, but if Jimmy cracks corn, and nobody cares, why does he keep doing it?

Re:OK... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39637415)

Are You Pondering What I'm Pondering?

I think so, Brain, but if we have nothing to fear but fear itself, why does Elanore Roosevelt wear that spooky mask?

Re:OK... (1)

The Archon V2.0 (782634) | more than 2 years ago | (#39636157)

There's the map of The Brain; is anyone working on a map of Pinky?

I don't know, it's probably tricky to map out a peanut in any great detail.

In Soviet Russia... (0, Redundant)

dryriver (1010635) | more than 2 years ago | (#39635687)

In Soviet Russia, Brain Voxels divide YOU into 3,000 three dimensional units.

Limited subject base (4, Insightful)

rgmoore (133276) | more than 2 years ago | (#39635737)

While this is undoubtedly an important study, their findings are going to have to be replicated somehow in a larger, more diverse set of subjects. They're looking at just 182 people and, while it's not mentioned explicitly in the article, it appears they're all men. We know from other studies that there are anatomical differences in men's brains compared to women's brains, and even between left handed and right handed men. It would be very interesting to see, for example, a FMRI study to see if the structures play the same role in all patients.

Re:Limited subject base (5, Interesting)

Hartree (191324) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

http://www.decisionneurosciencelab.org/ [decisionne...ncelab.org]

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.

Re:Limited subject base (2)

TheLink (130905) | more than 2 years ago | (#39636187)

I wonder if consciousness is what happens when we recursively simulate ourselves :).

Creating a model of the world allows organisms to predict what will happen and hopefully make better decisions than mere guessing. When the world includes others like you, predicting others and yourself becomes useful too.

Re:Limited subject base (1)

YttriumOxide (837412) | more than 2 years ago | (#39636441)

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.

I'd dearly love to read about that. I've always considered myself very poor at self-deception (however, I also personally feel it is a strength).

I find most other people seem to be able to say things like, "I believe in God" and when you dig a little deeper it ends up being, "I believe in God because it'd really be horrible if there wasn't one". I agree that it'd be much nicer if there was an all powerful all loving deity; but no matter how much I am sure I'd be happier to believe it, I simply don't in the same way that I don't believe I have an unknown rich relative who is going to leave me their fortune when they die.

Sorry for using religion as the example - I know it will annoy some people, but it was the first thing that sprang to mind. There are many other examples of self-deception such as habitual rituals (where people feel uncomfortable when they don't perform them); the placebo effect; psychological addiction; and so on, but they're not as clear or obvious as the big ones like religion.

Suffice to say, I am at times envious of those who can perform self-deception better than I can; but at the same time, I also feel I wouldn't be the person I am if I could do it better, and that change would probably be overall negative (not that I'd know though, so it kind of makes it irrelevant... but that train of thought is getting in to philosophy which is a whole other topic)

Re:Limited subject base (2)

turbidostato (878842) | more than 2 years ago | (#39637743)

"I've always considered myself very poor at self-deception"

So you think!

Re:Limited subject base (1)

YttriumOxide (837412) | more than 2 years ago | (#39640941)

"I've always considered myself very poor at self-deception"

So you think!

Indeed - I was mindful in my post not to say that I "am" worse at self-deception, merely that I consider myself so. It could be that I am actually very good at deceiving myself and have done so in such a way that I think I'm not. However based on my observations of others, I don't think that's the case - I just can't prove it to myself one way or the other definitively (I also can't really prove the existence of anything, but that's not really a very sensible way to live; so I tend to ignore those sorts of details until they become relevant)

the biggest self deception of all (2)

decora (1710862) | more than 2 years ago | (#39638199)

"I am not deceiving myself about anything"

Re:Limited subject base (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39645565)

Can somebody tell me how did they know the subject could play the piano before he got shot in the head in Vietnam,?

Re:Limited subject base (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39636479)

Depending on the specificity of the hypothesis, the distribution of subjects could be fine. 182 subjects is not out of line with other studies that use these (lesion mapping) methods. I reference studies using similar techniques: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2728583/ in 2010 and even as far back as 2000(http://www.jneurosci.org/content/20/7/2683.long). In many cases, the regions of interest are mapped via standardized proxy maps that allow some degree of functional mapping as one might see with MRI. Given the nature of their injuries, it might not be possible for this collection of subjects an MRI (metal fragments). The basic techniques have been used for some time and, when applied properly, have produced some interesting insight. Unfortunately, the blurb in the quoted article does not give enough information to fully evaluate this.

"We developed a new architecture!" (not research.) (1)

Clogoddess (2591147) | more than 2 years ago | (#39636763)

My informed opinion: --- the researchers were presenting, primarily, a MAPPING SYSTEM ("An integrative architecture for general intelligence mapping.") There are many many areas of intelligence that were not represented within this limited group, composed of verbal deficit injuries. There's no big news here, there's just a promising system for conducting future research on intelligence.

Re:Limited subject base (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 2 years ago | (#39636911)

While this is undoubtedly an important study, their findings are going to have to be replicated somehow in a larger, more diverse set of subjects.

Okay. What's the most scientifically-valid way to measure "intelligence" independently? As far as I know, there's no one accepted standard above all else. I could be wrong, of course, and would love to see what the standard is so I can take it and be depressed about how dumb I may or may not be.

Re:Limited subject base (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39637379)

This study was not about measuring intelligence as the parent pointed out. It is a system for defining areas on the cortex that play a role in intelligence. It is not entirely new and there is much research into fmri mapping. We already knew that the left front of the brain plays an important role in memory, decision making and organizational related functions.
So, no need to be depressed. This is not about putting a number on it.

Re:Limited subject base (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 2 years ago | (#39641393)

Yes, I know what the experiment did. But how do you independently verify the intelligence? That's what I mean.

It's like, okay. You invent some new kind of laser that can detect temperatures. (Yes, I know these exist, I'm tired and this is the best example I can give). You point the laser at the water and it gives off a temperature. You also have three or four traditional thermometers of varying types in the water. Does the laser match what's on the thermometers? Then the laser is accurate (or rather, the science suggests that the position that the laser is accurate is more likely).

So where's the "thermometer" here?

I'm sure a post mortem salmon will do (2)

tp1024 (2409684) | more than 2 years ago | (#39637043)

I can't help it: [prefrontal.org]

http://prefrontal.org/files/posters/Bennett-Salmon-2009.pdf [prefrontal.org]

When it comes to fMRI studies, I always remember the story of a dead salmon in an fMRI scanner, that was shown a series of photographs depicting human individuals in social situations. The salmon was asked to determine what emotion the individual in the photo must have been experiencing.

Of course, it was a resounding success! And now SCIENCE knows where in the brain of a dead salmon, the mental process to evaluate human emotions occurs.

Re:I'm sure a post mortem salmon will do (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 2 years ago | (#39639635)

Read more critically. The salmon paper was pointing out that if you do fMRI poorly, with half assed stats, you will get poor results. It is a tongue in cheek warning to neuroscientists who think that just because you can do fMRI analysis with the push of a button, you should.

fMRI, done properly by someone knows what they're doing, is a difficult, but reliable technique.

Recalibrate your irony detector (1)

tp1024 (2409684) | more than 2 years ago | (#39642999)

Just because I always remember the story doesn't mean I discard all fMRI studies outright. But I still think you should be on your toes.

Re:Recalibrate your irony detector (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 2 years ago | (#39645183)

You should never be ironic about a technical scientific issue in a public forum, at least not without a disclaimer at the end. You left off the disclaimer. I added it for you.

Re:Limited subject base (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39638859)

We would have mapped the human brain if only we would allow scientists do their work instead we bog'em done with all sorts of crazy religious restriction that have no bases in science. If we would allow the scientific community the freedom to do what it needs to do in order to we would so much more knowledge about the human brain but the restriction on human cell and living human tissue need to be lifted otherwise we will be left behind. We are talking about simple medical tests like drilling a small hole into the brain and seeing what effect it has on the person. Hell, we could probably use radiation to create the necessary effect. You think that stem-cell research has been hampered, you have no idea of the knowledge of the brain we could gain with such simple experiments. Every enlightened person knows that people are nothing but overly complex computers.

War what is it good for? (2)

hey (83763) | more than 2 years ago | (#39635813)

brain mapping.

Sweet! Now which bit do I hit with the hammer? (1)

sandytaru (1158959) | more than 2 years ago | (#39635823)

Maybe phrenology was onto something after all!

What is the use of the right side of the brain (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39635827)

From the video, I understand that damage to the right frontal and temporal lobe have no effect on general intelligence. I wonder what they are used for then? What kind of mental processes are run there? Something that the tests did not measure, or are they simply useless? Seems to be a waste of resources.

Re:What is the use of the right side of the brain (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39635855)

Why not "something that is useful, but not for general intelligence"? Say "vision" or "hearing"?

Re:What is the use of the right side of the brain (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39635869)

ESP.

Re:What is the use of the right side of the brain (4, Informative)

Hartree (191324) | more than 2 years ago | (#39636031)

That was another question that came up in the QA section of a talk by the lead researcher, Aron Barbey a couple weeks ago.

Obviously, it's doing things that just weren't measured by these particular tests. You don't waste that much blood flow and energy use on "nothing". These tests were aimed at specific types of verbal and executive reasoning.

Barbey also mentioned that the majority of the participants in the study were right handed, and they needed follow up research to deal with the questions of whether that effects the results of the study.

Re:What is the use of the right side of the brain (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 2 years ago | (#39636629)

I'm sure there is some influence on the injuries as well - a right handed soldier is going to hold his rifle a certain way, and they are going to be facing more or less the same area - meaning that they would all share a common side facing incoming fire / shrapnel etc.

Holding a rifle or such will tend to have the helmet tilted over the rifle, shielding that side of the brain a bit more than the left, which would be more exposed.

Re:What is the use of the right side of the brain (1)

Clogoddess (2591147) | more than 2 years ago | (#39636793)

Primarily they missed any sort of social or emotional processing, such as face recognition, emotional recognition, metaphor comprehension, the kinds of intelligence known to reside in the right hemisphere.

(My snarky private thought was, wow, a new way of ignoring areas of intelligence that don't correspond to standardized tests.)

Re:What is the use of the right side of the brain (1)

Hartree (191324) | more than 2 years ago | (#39637163)

"(My snarky private thought was, wow, a new way of ignoring areas of intelligence that don't correspond to standardized tests.)"

*grin* There's a whole laundry list of things that aren't verbal in nature but are even more important.

I think they were consciously restricting it to one specific area for now (if you try to study everything at once, you often end up not studying anything well).

If you look at the web page I linked above, one of the research themes is the role of emotion in executive function. They've only been up and running at this new institute since this past fall , so they've not had much time to do any follow on work.

Re:What is the use of the right side of the brain (1)

Farmer Tim (530755) | more than 2 years ago | (#39636119)

From the video, I understand that damage to the right frontal and temporal lobe have no effect on general intelligence. I wonder what they are used for then?

Watching Fox.

Re:What is the use of the right side of the brain (2)

phantomlord (38815) | more than 2 years ago | (#39636915)

My dad had a stroke that damaged his right frontal lobe and part of the temporal and parietal lobes 14 years ago at 40 years old. In terms of knowledge and cognition, there was little effect, however, it did affect motor control (he has left hemi-paresis) and his sense of tough (he tends to be hypersensitive to anything on his left side, usaully registering pain with any type of contact, even just brushing his arm with something soft like a feather), speech (he saw a therapist for 8 months afterward and is pretty normal now), ability to swallow (which has since recovered), his left field of vision (if he concentrates, he can see things, but he generally ignores things there in casual vision, note that there are two different pathways for vision in the brain too), short term memory and some new long term memory (though recall of old memories is still pretty good), emotions and personality. His senses of taste and smell seemed to have changed too. Lately, he's been having problems with sleep as well (though whether or not that is caused by a new malfunction in the brain or something else isn't known right now). He also tends to be less creative in thought about learning new things, preferring step by step instructions (but that's probably because the right brain is more creative while the left is more literal and analytical).

Re:What is the use of the right side of the brain (1)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 2 years ago | (#39641691)

I had a stroke at 40 as well, right frontal. Smell changed, and change in sleeping habits, but no externally testable issues. Family doctors can't even tell which side the stroke was on. But I'm still 40 now, obviously the stroke was within the past year. I've not noticed any intelligence, creativity or learning issues.

Let's see (1)

brian0918 (638904) | more than 2 years ago | (#39635847)

Let's see if they can explain this guy [spiegel.de] .

Re:Let's see (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39640259)

That reminds me of this [simpsonstrivia.com.ar] . I'm amazed his IQ was as high as 75.

Reference? (3, Insightful)

Terwin (412356) | more than 2 years ago | (#39635901)

TFA did not specify any pre-injury base-line for intelligence.
Did they all take intelligence tests before enlisting?
Seems unlikely.
Did they have any other way to check cognitive function prior to the injury so they had some sort of a useful base-line?

Is it possible that a majority of the differences, especially in general intelligence, were less related to the injuries and more related to nature/nurture?

How about compensation?
Humans are great at adapting.
Did they check their results with people who had more recent injuries?

Might be a good starting point, but it sounds like there is a lot that could affect the things they were testing for that were not isolated or otherwise accounted for.

Re:Reference? (1)

Maximum Prophet (716608) | more than 2 years ago | (#39635969)

TFA did not specify any pre-injury base-line for intelligence. Did they all take intelligence tests before enlisting? Seems unlikely. ...

I was in the just after Vietman era generation. I remember taking some sort of armed forces aptitude test in High School. This was when the draft was still an issue, so for Vietnam vets, it's entirely possible that they all took the same test before being drafted, or shortly thereafter.

Re:Reference? (1)

jxander (2605655) | more than 2 years ago | (#39636269)

ASVAB [wikipedia.org] (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery)

It is a great test of general knowledge and cognitive abilities. Subjects range from basic math to 10-key numbering to automotive questions, and everything in between. Assuming the participants took their ASVAB before enlisting, the test would have a great baseline for each individual.

Re:Reference? (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#39635991)

They were all soldiers so you might have more baseline data than you would for a member of the general population. But the specific questions you are answering are really not germane to the study. This is a first, low resolution look at general areas involved in fairly general mental processes. It hasn't been clear that there were specific regions of the brain involved in specific higher process functions.

Yes, there are likely to be differences between men and woman, Caucasians and Asians, old and young. And if they can get around the obvious social and political biases this sort of experiment would entail, they may be able to get more detailed information. Unfortunately, unless you're in Syria, it's not likely you can replicate this exact experiment since most cultures don't go forcing shrapnel through people's heads on a regular basis.

Re:Reference? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39636283)

No, they did not. Because people in the actual research field aren't as smart as you and would never think of these variables. Maybe you should submit yourself as a data point for their next study.

Different people with different brain organization (3, Interesting)

Theovon (109752) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Different people with different brain organizat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39636013)

182 people were investigated and the results compared. This means only the similarities show up, whereas the differences you mention largely average away.

Re:Different people with different brain organizat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39636023)

If the assumption (that we all put the same brain functions in more or less the same places) was false, an experiment with a big enough sample size would show there'd be no correlation. Heck, a too small sample size would on average even be more likely to show an anecdotal lack of correlation!

This is how science works: There is an initial assumption (a. k. a. hypothesis), then you try to disprove it. If you fail, you've won.

Re:Different people with different brain organizat (1)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 2 years ago | (#39636027)

This coarse understanding of the brain is a step-up from the object-level understanding we have know. From there, we can refine the model in gradual steps.

It's definitely a study with flaws, but it's also a study that advances the current state of the art.

Patience, grass hopper. The neural interfaces to allow for Total Recall to become reality are still a few coarse and flawed studies away.

Re:Different people with different brain organizat (2)

viperidaenz (2515578) | more than 2 years ago | (#39636267)

Anything to promote research into three-boobed women...

Re:Different people with different brain organizat (2)

Maximum Prophet (716608) | more than 2 years ago | (#39636041)

AFAIK, most people will lose the same function if they lose the same part of their brain. I'd wager that anyone who didn't had already lost function in that part of their brain in their childhood, and their brain compensated.

Still, it's a crap shoot, but more data is better than none. If you have a brain tumor, and the surgeon has to choose to sacrifice one part of your brain to remove the tumor, this data helps to guide that choice.

Re:Different people with different brain organizat (2)

amRadioHed (463061) | more than 2 years ago | (#39636111)

People also have different physical strengths and weaknesses, but we still have the same muscles in the same areas. It would be reasonable to assume the brain is the same way until we have evidence that suggests otherwise.

Re:Different people with different brain organizat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39638639)

This study seems to be making the assumption that we all put the same brain functions in precisely the same places.

Within limits, we do. There is normal variation from person to person, and to some degree the brain will attempt to reroute around damage, but on the whole there is a standard layout where the same functions get put in the same locations. These researchers were looking for certain higher cognitive functions. It is not absolutely sure that they have them all precisely located, but they have identified areas of interest.

correlation isn't causation! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39636233)

I dont care what your confidence is!

Let me get this straight (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | more than 2 years ago | (#39636245)

They took just 182 people, all of similar age, all of similar education, all gone through military training, all with penetrating head wounds and trauma to their brain, and used that to "map the brain". Sounds solid.

Re:Let me get this straight (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39636889)

Exactly. There are many psychological variations between populations from different cultures as this article [postcog.ucd.ie] points out.

Re:Let me get this straight (4, Funny)

kanweg (771128) | more than 2 years ago | (#39636941)

I think the study is full of holes

Bert

Re:Let me get this straight (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | more than 2 years ago | (#39637707)

Like the brains of the subjects?

(blink... blink..) 182?? (1)

WOOFYGOOFY (1334993) | more than 2 years ago | (#39636249)

182 subjects . And they can claim to have achieved the required statistical power to assert statistical significance over .. what population exactly?

I didn't say the study wasn't worthy or interesting.. I am just saying with 182 subjects, the strong claim presented to me - We've mapped intelligence!) in the title of this article isn't warranted.

Who submits these things. Helper undergrads who want to see the study and their name in the "thanks to" section made famous?

Someone call quality control....

RTFA? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39636597)

I volunteer you for the next round, with a statistically meaningful sample size. By the way, they have confidence bounds on the presented data, had you defeated the paywall to RTFA. Yes, the researchers are smarter than you. In the off chance that you happen to be smarter, go ahead and tell me how you'd perform a better experiement to study this.

Learn by Breaking (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39636291)

This somehow reminds me of how much of genetic research is done. If you want to figure out what a gene does, make a cell line where that gene is broken and see what happens. Or for that matter, particle physics: figure out atoms by smashing them together. It is in many ways a brute-force method, but it's effective enough nonetheless.

Yeah, right... (1)

Corson (746347) | more than 2 years ago | (#39636359)

"Mapping" intelligence is like herding cats. The problem is that a brain is a swarm of neurons, meaning that its function is the sum of all of its parts. Sure some brain areas are "mappable", because they connect to specific peripheral organs, but otherwise intelligence as a function is unmappable. That is why a location for memory has not been found. In effect, the more cerebral matter is surgically removed, the deeper the memory loss is.

Re:Yeah, right... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39636809)

You have problems understanding your own term "mappable".

If you can't map, say, intelligence or part thereof to the brain, it is unmappable. If you can, it obviously is mappable. Then, there may be areas mediating several aspects of intelligence, or one aspect is not mappable to a single brain area. And there may be other uncertainties, sure. Well, in each of these cases TFA (I mean the original research) should have found clear, not-so-clear, or no evidence at all. That's what it's all about. But your bold claim "intelligence as a function is unmappable" needs citation, please.

Intelligence has little to do with the brain (1)

t4eXanadu (143668) | more than 2 years ago | (#39636493)

Even the humble slime mould (Physarum polycephalum) can navigate mazes to find a food source, using the most optimal (least expenditure of energy) path. Slime moulds have been used to create maps of major metropolitan transportation systems (such as the Tokyo subway system). Likewise, Darwin's famous experiments with earthworms revealed that earthworms use what the environment affords them in order to strengthen their burrows. They accomplish this despite lacking a central nervous system and any of the "big five" sensory organs. Finally, there are parallels between the pattern dynamics of the BZ (Belousov–Zhabotinsky) reaction and the aggregation phase of the slime mould life cycle (in which a chemical signal for starvation pulls distinct amoebas into an aggregate, and each amoeba that sends the starvation signal becomes the center of a circle towards which the other amoebas move).

Examples like suggest that many complex systems, both biological and otherwise, can demonstrate intelligent behavior. The social, cultural, political, biological, and other environmental contexts afford and constrain the kind of intelligence an organism has. Brains, especially human ones, aren't particularly special in this regard.

You wrote this ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39636645)

You wrote this with you fingers, no? Intelligently designed post!

Re:Intelligence has little to do with the brain (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39637129)

Congratulations, you just bumped into one of the major issues in Cognitive Science. There is no agreed upon definition of the word "intelligence." You, like many others before, have decided that intelligence is something that you can determine based upon observed physical behaviour. If you were to spend some time to consider how you might convince others that some machine (for example) is intelligent through it's behaviour, you will come to see why that is a weak definition. By your definition, there are inorganic physical phenomena that you would consider intelligent.

My brain injury (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39637535)

I had a massive brain injury over six years ago and my intelligance was severly damgaged for a long time. I had a temeoral lobectomy at the end of last year to stop the seizures that were brought on from the injury and it seems like my intelligence has mostly came back. Even the neurosurgeon said that I seemed smarter than when he first started seeing me. Yet, I'm still not sure wether I'm as smart as when I was a computer science major back in 2001 and started reading ./

Me love you long time. You party? (1)

Daz3d (669004) | more than 2 years ago | (#39638071)

3000 voxels too beaucoup!

neat (1)

Alphons Clenin (160296) | more than 2 years ago | (#39638691)

I recently had a small stroke on the left side of my brain. The only impact I can tell is some very slight speech problems, which are almost gone just a few weeks later. It would be neat to compare my MRI to the areas mapped out by this to see if I can notice any losses. Too bad my neurologist is not interested in talking more than spending five minutes telling me to eat better and take aspirin and a statin from now on.

Uhm, I can see where this is going but... (1)

axlr8or (889713) | more than 2 years ago | (#39639667)

There is no way in hell your going to get me to do all that stuff to my brain just to get smarter. On the other hand, I'm still pretty young. If I get started now I can take it slow.

Troll functioning (1)

Randym (25779) | more than 2 years ago | (#39641123)

The researchers also found that brain regions for planning, self-control and other aspects of executive function overlap to a significant extent with regions vital to general intelligence. The study provides new evidence that intelligence relies not on one brain region or even the brain as a whole, Barbey said, but involves specific brain areas working together in a coordinated fashion.

So.... are trolls actually missing functional areas, or are they just cognitively uncoordinated?

Very low resolution: 15x15x15 3k... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39641697)

Surprisingly low resolution tbh. Even a decade ago resolutions like 256x256x256 (16,7M voxel) were common. Then again higher resolution you use, more divergence between patients you get...

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