Newswise — A team led by UCL and UCLH researchers mapped the parts of the brain that support our ability to solve problems without previous experience.
Fluid intelligence is arguably a 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.
Fluid intelligence is thought to be a key function involved in ‘active thinking’, a complex set of mental processes such as abstraction, judgment, attention, strategy generation and inhibition. All of these skills can be used in everyday activities, from hosting dinner parties to filling out tax returns.
Despite its central role in human behavior, fluid intelligence remains controversial as to whether it is a single entity or a collection of cognitive abilities, and the nature of its relationship to the brain. There is room for
To establish which part of the brain is necessary for a particular ability, researchers must study patients with that part missing or damaged. Such ‘lesion-deficit mapping’ studies are difficult to conduct due to the challenges of identifying and testing patients with focal brain injury.
As a result, previous studies have mostly used functional imaging (fMRI) techniques, which can be misleading.
The new study is led by the UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology and UCLH researchers’ National Hospital of Neurology and Neurosurgery, brain, investigated 227 patients who suffered from either brain tumors or strokes to specific parts of the brain using the most established test of fluid intelligence, the Raven Advanced Progressive Matrices (APM). The test contains multiple-choice visual pattern questions of increasing difficulty. Each problem presents an incomplete pattern of geometric shapes and requires you to select the missing piece from a set of multiple possible choices.
The researchers then introduced a novel ‘lesion-deficit mapping’ approach to disentangle the complex anatomical patterns of common forms of brain injury such as stroke.
Their approach treats the relationships between brain regions as a mathematical network whose connections represent the tendency of regions to be affected together, reflecting disease processes or common cognitive abilities.
This has allowed researchers to disentangle brain maps of cognitive performance from patterns of injury, mapping different parts of the brain to determine which patients worsened on fluid intelligence tasks in response to injury. rice field.
The researchers found that the decline in fluid intelligence was largely confined to patients with right frontal lobe lesions, rather than widespread regions distributed throughout the brain. Alongside brain tumors and stroke, such injuries are common in patients with a variety of other neurological conditions, including traumatic brain injury and dementia.
Lead author Professor Lisa Cipolotti (UCL Queen Square Neurological Institute) said: and reasoned.
“This supports the use of APM in the clinical setting as a way to assess fluid intelligence and identify right frontal lobe dysfunction.
“Our approach, which combines a detailed investigation of APM performance in a large sample of patients with novel lesion-deficient mapping, provides important information about the neural underpinnings of fluid intelligence. Deciding how to treat neurological disorders.” It is imperative that we pay more attention to lesion studies to clarify the often-relationships between the brain and cognition.”
This study was funded by Wellcome and the NIHR UCLH Center for Biomedical Research funding scheme. The researchers also received funding from The National Brain Appeal and Guarantors of Brain.