Yet another study of the human brain

It’s a well known fact that scientists have been studying the human brain for many years, trying to find out what exactly makes us humans tick. The more you think about it, the more complex man’s mind seems to be — almost to the point that it’s nearly impossible to grasp. But researchers have been developing theories for as long as science has been around.

Examining the brain. Graphic from Behavioral Health
Examining the brain. Graphic from Behavioral Health

One theory centers around something called the general intelligence g-factor. Scientists have been looking at this particular variable since the early 1900’s.The original research was done on the idea of memory, pattern recognition, and reading ability. Recently, they’ve found more  information on it; specifically a correlation with a connectome and the positive and negative events that happen in one’s life such as attitude, education level, and life satisfaction.

These findings suggest that if this connectome is on one side of the scale, you tend to have better traits and score highly in vocabulary, memory, and other things, which also often lead to higher income. People who scored on the opposite side of the spectrum scored lowly in these areas and were found to have higher scores in more negative traits, including anger, rebellion, sleep quality, and even substance abuse. They have come to find that many of the g-factors overlap, which is why we as humans tend to be good — or bad — at many things.

Of course, correlation does not always automatically equate to something, which is where criticism to the general intelligence g-factor comes in. As always, we must look at these findings with skepticism and continue researching until we’re sure of our answer.

Professor Smith from University of Oxford hopes that “by looking at brain imaging data [they’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,” rather than just guessing at whether or not the correlations make the case.

Either way, we can say with certainty that we’re well on our way to unraveling more  about the complexity of the human brain.