Network “Wiring” Of Brain Impacts Mental Performance.

In Brain Circuitry, Brain Development, Brain General Structure and Function, Brain Science, Memory and Learning by Brainy Days Ahead

The type of network, or the way a person’s brain is “wired,” affects how the person performs on simple or complex tasks.  In a new study, researchers at Rice University focused on the degree to which a person’s brain modules communicate with one another. In low modularity brains, every region of the brain is just as likely to communicate with any other region. High modulaity brains were defined as those that communicate among fewer regions. In the study, the researchers had 52 participants (16 men, 36 women) between the ages of 18 and 26 undergo functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to measure brain neural activity for 21 minutes. If neural activity increased and decreased in two areas at the same time over the course of the scan, it was an indicator that the two areas were connected. The researchers took the participants through a series of behavioral tasks, including complex tasks that tested their memory while simultaneously doing simple arithmetic and simple tasks. The researchers found that participants with high-modularity brains were more successful at performing simple tasks than individuals with low-modularity brains, performing nearly twice as successfully. But participants with low-modularity brains had greater success with complex tasks than participants with high-modularity brains. The research has important implications for understanding the brain as a network.