JUL 30, 2020 9:31 AM PDT

Brain Thickness and Connectivity Influences Negative Behavior

WRITTEN BY: Annie Lennon

When looking at the brain, many think that different areas are individually responsible for different functions- like memory or motor skills. Now, however, researchers from Penn State University have found that the thickness of the brain's outer layer (cortical thickness) and the brain's interconnectivity may be just as important.

For the study, researchers used fMRI technology to analyze the neural interconnectivity of 818 people while in a resting state. For cortical thickness, they assessed the relationships between the cortical thickness of the entire cortex (the brain's outer layer) and its resting-state functional connectivity. They then compared these two metrics with 129 non-imaging behavioral and demographic measures. These included information on how participants differed in intelligence, aggressive tendencies, and life satisfaction. 

In the end, the researchers found that brain locations alone could not completely account for all the connections between them nor behaviors. Instead, they found that both a pattern of cortical thickness and functional connectivity significantly correlated with certain behaviors. 

In particular, they found that these characteristics could explain correlations with positive behaviors like performance on memory and cognitive tests, general life satisfaction, and educational attainment. For these traits, they found that in higher-order brain regions responsible for thought, memory, and perception, people tended to have thinner cortices and increased functional connectivity. However, in the low-level sensory and motor regions, the same people tended to have decreased connectivity and thicker cortices. The inverse was found for negative behaviors like substance use, antisocial behavior, and anger. 

The researchers attribute their findings to various technologies from fMRI to big data analysis, structural brain imaging, and hundreds of behavioral, cognitive, psychometric, and demographic measures. 

"With the functional data, we are not just collecting 3-D imaging, but we're actually collecting 4-D imaging- spatial imaging along different time points," says Xiao Liu, leader of the study. 

 

Sources: Medical XpressScience Direct

About the Author
  • Science writer with keen interests in technology and behavioral biology. Her current focus is on the interplay between these fields to create meaningful interactions, applications and environments.
You May Also Like
JUN 09, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
Psychedelic DMT Improves Wellbeing in 89% of People
JUN 09, 2020
Psychedelic DMT Improves Wellbeing in 89% of People
DMT is a powerful psychedelic drug known to produce visions involving 'other beings' like elves, aliens, and dei ...
JUN 13, 2020
Neuroscience
High Doses of Ketamine Can Switch Off the Brain
JUN 13, 2020
High Doses of Ketamine Can Switch Off the Brain
Researchers from the University of Cambridge, England, have found that high doses of ketamine temporarily switch off the ...
JUN 23, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
Psychedelic DMT to Enter Clinical Trials
JUN 23, 2020
Psychedelic DMT to Enter Clinical Trials
Neuro-pharmaceutical company, MindMed, has announced that it will begin a double-blind placebo-controlled Phase 1 clinic ...
JUN 26, 2020
Cell & Molecular Biology
New Method Identifies Different Types of Nerve Support Cells
JUN 26, 2020
New Method Identifies Different Types of Nerve Support Cells
Neurons are a well-studied cell type in the brain. But another type of brain cell called glia has received less attentio ...
JUN 30, 2020
Neuroscience
Stroking Cuddly Seal Robot Boosts Happiness, Reduces Pain
JUN 30, 2020
Stroking Cuddly Seal Robot Boosts Happiness, Reduces Pain
Stroking a cuddly seal robot boosts happiness and reduces pain in young adults, according to a new study by researchers ...
AUG 05, 2020
Neuroscience
'Recycled' Brain Region Key for Ability to Read
AUG 05, 2020
'Recycled' Brain Region Key for Ability to Read
Reading and writing systems have only come to being in the last few thousand years- an insufficient timeframe to evolve ...
Loading Comments...