Stanford Study Reveals How Brain Network Integration Helps Us Become Better ThinkersBy Emily Marks
A new study by Stanford scientists has uncovered how the communication between different areas of the brain helps us learn new tasks more quickly. It was revealed how the integration and fluctuation between brain regions facilitate our ability to do better on complex tasks.
According to Stanford University's official website, the scientists used open source data from the Human Connectome Project to investigate how different regions of the brain coordinate with each other over time. The examination was made on people who are at rest as well as while they are doing a challenging mental task.
The three-part project was published in "Neuron." It is entitled "The Dynamics of Functional Brain Networks: Integrated Network States during Cognitive Task Performance."
"The brain is stunning in its complexity and I feel like, in a way, we've been able to describe some of its beauty in this story," study lead author Mac Shine, a postdoctoral researcher, said. "We've been able to say, 'Here's this underlying structure that you would never have guessed was there, that might help us explain the mystery of why the brain is organized in the way that it is.'"
It was noted that the brain network of the people in the resting state condition still fluctuates between periods of higher and lower coordinated blood flow in separate regions of the brains. This happens even without intentional stimulation.
The researchers compared this fMRI data from people who were able to successfully perform a challenging memory test. It was found that the participants' brains were more integrated while working on the complicated task than while they were at rest.
It has been previously known that the brain is inherently dynamic. However, the results were interesting since it further revealed that the regions of the brain were most interconnected in people who were able to do the test the fastest and with the greatest accuracy.