September 25, 2008

Fluid Intelligence and the Prefrontal Cortex

The Positive Manifold: Reactive Control in Fluid Intelligence?
by Chris Chatham

What neural mechanisms underlie "fluid intelligence," the ability to reason and solve novel problems? This is the question addressed in a recent paper by Gray et al. in Nature Neuroscience. The authors begin by suggesting that fluid intelligence is related to both attentional control and active maintenance of information in the face of ongoing processing (i.e., working memory).

Each of these concepts, in turn, has been associated with the functioning of the lateral prefrontal cortex - a region that has been massively expanded in humans compared to even our closest evolutionary relatives.

Read More: Here

September 22, 2008

On Neuroplasticity - Audio

The dogma used to be that the adult brain was a rigid, unchangeable organ, but that pessimistic perspective is now being radically revised. Psychiatrist Dr Norman Doidge journeyed into the labs and lives of the 'neuroplasticians' -- once scientific mavericks, they're challenging the old neurological nihilism. Professor Jeffrey Schwartz is one. They both join Natasha Mitchell in discussion to reveal how the human brain has underestimated itself!

All In The Mind is Radio National's weekly foray into the mental universe, the mind, brain and behaviour - everything from addiction to artificial intelligence.

September 10, 2008

Yale Scientists May Have Found Brain's Center For Self-Control

Intelligence offers some protection against succumbing to immediate gratification, but psychologists have been unsure why. Yale University researchers report that they may have found the first clue to the mystery in an area of the brain that governs abstract problem solving and goal management.

"How do you juggle what you desperately want to do right now versus what you know to be best for yourself long term? Its not easy for anyone," said Jeremy Gray, assistant professor of psychology and co-author of the study. "We found that a part of prefrontal cortex that helps integrate goals and values appears to contribute to both self-control and to performance on tests of abstract reasoning and problem solving, helping to explain why self-control and intelligence are related."

Read More: Here