“We’ve tried to see how we can relate what we see in the brain to the behavioural skills we can measure in different people. In doing this, we hope to able to understand what goes on ‘under the bonnet’ of the brain,” said Professor Stephen Smith of Oxford University, who led the study published in Nature Neuroscience.
“You can think of it as a population-average map of 200 regions across the brain that are functionally distinct from one another. Then we looked at how much all of those regions communicated with each other, in every participant,” Professor Smith said.
“It may be that with hundreds of different brain circuits, the tests that are used to measure cognitive ability actually make use of different sets of overlapping circuits,” Professor Smith said.
“We hope that by looking at brain-imaging data we’ll be able to relate connections in the brain to the specific measures, and work out what these kinds of test actually require the brain to do,” he said.
It may also be possible to use the research to work out how to train people to improve their brain connectivity and therefore push than up the scale so that they achieve more than they otherwise would, he added.
“It’s a question of whether it’s possible to move people up the axis of connectivity. We know from other research that it is possible to improve cognitive performance with training, but what we don’t know yet is whether this is true of connectivity,” he explained.These guys are distinguished scientists... you can tell.