Apr 6, 2009 | 12
Some of us look for wisdom in the Bible, Plato or at Grandma's knee. Dilip Jeste and his colleague Thomas Meeks are searching for it in the brain.
Jeste and Meeks, both geriatric psychiatrists at the University of California, San Diego, hypothesize in the Archives of General Psychiatry that wisdom, or at least the execution of its attributes, can be found in the brain's primitive limbic system as well as its more evolutionarily advanced prefrontal cortex.
Wisdom for centuries has been a religious or philosophical concept that varies somewhat by culture. But Jeste tells ScientificAmerican.com that there is reason to believe that it's rooted in neurobiology. He and Meeks pored through medical literature, locating 10 papers that defined wisdom. Based on commonalities in the research, the two proposed that wisdom is made up of the behaviors that reflect the good of the group, pragmatism, emotional balance, self-understanding, tolerance and the ability to deal with ambiguity. Then, based on those studies, they zeroed in on which neurotransmitters (the brain's chemical messengers) were active and which parts of the brain light up on functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) when we behave wisely.
Dec 12, 2008 | 5
Researchers at ATR Computational Neuroscience Laboratories in Kyoto, Japan, say they've developed new analysis technology that can reconstruct the images inside a person's brain and display them on a computer screen, according to Pink Tentacle, an English-language blog that covers news from Japan. Pink Tentacle picked up the info from Japan's Chunichi Shimbun daily newspaper.
ATR scientists reported this week in the journal Neuron that they reconstructed various images study participants were viewing by using a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to analyze changes in the flow of blood in the brain's visual cortex (a region of the brain where vision is processed). The researchers showed each subject 400 random black-and-white images for a period of 12 seconds each. As the images were viewed, the fMRI provided information about brain activity that a computer then analyzed to determine patterns that associated each brain reaction with a particular image.
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