Research, Technology

Can brain scans explain human behavior?

Right now there are billions inside your brainneurons exchange information with each other, creating your thoughts and feelings. But we cannot see how the brain is arranged and how it works. At least without additional tools. Fortunately, medical science has come a long way: today, brain imaging can shed light on some medical conditions. But is it possible to use the usual EEG (electroencephalogram) to identify the behavior of a particular person? It seems the answer to this question is no. Most of the research linking features of brain imaging and understanding cognitive abilities is not conclusive. It turns out that it is impossible to explain human behavior with the help of visualization?

brain imaging shows about human behavior, probably based on research, the results of which will not be confirmed by further studies.

Brain scanning is carried out using a portable MRI scanner. Magnetic resonance imaging is a method of obtaining tomographic medical images for the study of internal organs.

How to view the brain

Millions of years of evolution led to the emergence of HomoSapiens. The human brain has come a long way in its development, allowing us to build civilization as we know it. At the same time, knowledge about the most important organ of the human body, alas, is not enough. Simply studying the physiology of the brain is not the same as understanding how it works.

The problem area is not visualizationof the brain as such, but a specific subset of imaging studies. This area of ​​science attempts to explain differences in both behavior and the brain.

MRI is a common procedure used by hospitals around the world.

For example, research on psychiatric conditions was the next step for neuroimaging: The idea was to show that human behavior is based on simple, identifiable brain states. But that did not happen.

More on the topic: How MRI and other types of brain imaging are done

As a team of researchers recently discovered,regardless of the size and type of associations, the findings of small studies have been found to be largely irreproducible. Thus, the results of a study linking brain function with intelligence in 2,000 children showed extremely illogical results. The work was published in the scientific journal Nature.

The work of the brain and its study

In the course of the work, researchers from the University of Washington divided a sample of subjects into two groups of 1,000 people and conducted the same analysis for each group. That's just results did not match, after which the team decided to study the problem on a larger scale.

As a result, the conclusions of most published “brain association studies,” which typically involve tens to hundreds of subjects, can be erroneous, write the authors of the scientific work.

It should be noted that most of thestudies have linked differences in brain structure and activity with differences in cognitive ability, mental health, and other behavioral traits.

Using a brain scan, you can find out, for example, the effect of a coronavirus infection on the brain

Read even more interesting articles about the brain and its state on our channel in Yandex.Zen - articles that are not on the site are regularly published there!

For example, numerous studies have foundbrain anatomy or activity patterns that can distinguish people diagnosed with depression from those who do not. Similar studies are also often aimed at searching for biomarkers of behavioral traits using fMRI scan - functional magnetic resonance imaging, showing areas of the brain that are active during speech.

However, the conclusions of most of the publishedstudies that typically involve tens to hundreds of subjects can be misleading. In addition, many studies are carried out in small laboratories with a limited budget and an average sample size (about 23 subjects).

You may be interested: Scientists have discovered a key difference between the human brain and the brain of animals

brain imaging

Researchers do not claim that visualizationof the brain is useless for studying behavior, but larger sample sizes are needed, tantamount to larger and better funded studies. Funders, however, may want to be more confident that the information is of clear practical use.

And yet, over the past decades, visualizationbrain shed light on his medical condition. In addition, the researchers do not claim that brain imaging is useless for studying behavior. But for more accurate data, larger sample sizes are needed, which is tantamount to larger and better funded studies.

Brain scan reveals Alzheimer's disease

The authors also emphasize that their criticismis applicable only to a subset of research aimed at explaining differences in human behavior using brain imaging. So smaller, more detailed studies of the connections between the brain and behavior may show reliable results.

This is interesting: Will artificial intelligence be able to manipulate human behavior?

To summarize the data obtained, then with the help of brain scanning today it is possible to identify depression and other psychiatric conditions, but also describe the behavior todaypretty hard. The reason is that it is necessary to consider behavior from different angles, taking into account the hormonal system, genetic predisposition, environmental conditions and other factors.