Scientists have discovered a region of the brain that is responsible for climbing the career ladder
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A team of researchers has mapped parts of the brain that support our ability to solve problems in various fields – otherwise known as fluid intelligence.
Fluid intelligence (or fluid intelligence) is perhaps the defining feature of human cognition. It predicts educational and professional success, social mobility, health and longevity. It also correlates with many cognitive abilities, such as memory, writes SciTechDaily.
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Fluid intelligence is considered a key feature of “active thinking” – a set of complex mental processes associated with abstraction, judgment, attention, strategizing, and inhibition. All of these skills can be used in day-to-day activities, from hosting a dinner party to filing a tax return.
Despite its central role in human behavior, it is debatable whether fluid intelligence is a single cognitive ability or a collection of such phenomena. And the nature of its connection with the brain is also not clear.
To determine which parts of the brain are needed for a particular ability, researchers must study patients in whom this part is either missing or damaged. Such “lesion deficit mapping” studies are difficult to conduct due to the difficulty of identifying and testing patients with focal brain injury.
Consequently, previous studies have mostly used functional imaging (MRI) techniques, which can be misleading.
The new study interviewed 227 patients who had either a brain tumor or a stroke in specific parts of the brain. The analysis used the Raven Advanced Progressive Matrices (APM) test, the best test for intelligence flexibility. It contains tasks on visual images with multiple choice of increasing complexity. Each task is an incomplete set of geometric shapes and requires selecting the missing piece from a variety of possible options.
The researchers then introduced a new “lesion deficit mapping” approach to unravel the complex anatomical patterns of common forms of brain injury such as stroke .
Their approach saw the relationship between brain regions as a mathematical network, the connections of which describe the tendency of regions to be affected together, either due to a disease process or as a reflection of a commonality of cognitive abilities.
This allowed the researchers to combine a map of the brain's cognition and patterns of damage, which mapped different parts of the brain and determined which injuries caused problems with certain tasks.
The researchers found that the decline in fluid intelligence performance was mostly limited to patients with lesions in the right frontal lobe, rather than those with an extensive set of affected areas. Along with brain tumors and stroke, it is common in patients with a range of other neurological conditions, including traumatic brain injury and dementia.
Lead author Prof. Lisa Cipolotti (Queen Square Institute of Neurology, University of California at Los Angeles), said: “Our results show for the first time that the right frontal brain regions are critical for high-level functions associated with fluid intelligence, such as problem thinking, decision and reasoning.”
“This supports using the APM test in a clinical setting as a way to assess fluid intelligence and detect right frontal lobe dysfunction.”
“Our approach, which combines novel mapping of lesions and defects with a detailed study of the effectiveness of APM in a large sample of patients, provides an important information on the neural basis of fluid intelligence. cognitive function, which often determines how neurological disorders are treated,” Chipolotti summed up.