“There is a strong correspondence between a particular set of connections in the brain and positive lifestyle and behaviour traits, according to a new study by Oxford University researchers.
A team of scientists led by the University’s Centre for Functional MRI of the Brain has investigated the connections in the brains of 461 people and compared them with 280 different behavioural and demographic measures that were recorded for the same participants. They found that variation in brain connectivity and an individual’s traits lay on a single axis — where those with classically positive lifestyles and behaviours had different connections to those with classically negative ones. The findings are published in Nature Neuroscience.
The team used data from the Human Connectome Project (HCP), a $30m NIH-funded brain imaging study led by Washington, Minnesota and Oxford Universities. The HCP is pairing up functional MRI scans of 1,200 healthy participants with in-depth data gained from tests and questionnaires. “The quality of the imaging data is really unprecedented,” explains Professor Stephen Smith, who was the lead author of the paper. “Not only is the number of subjects we get to study large, but the spatial and temporal resolution of the fMRI data is way ahead of previous large datasets.” So far, data for 500 subjects have been released to researchers for analysis.”
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