Study: Task complexity and IQ impact thinking speed

Researchers from Berlin and Barcelona have discovered that individuals with higher IQs tend to be more efficient at solving simple tasks, but are slower at solving complex problems than individuals with lower IQs. Personalized computer models of the brains of 650 participants from the Human Connectome Project were used to obtain this result. The researchers utilized magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data to create brain models, and found that virtual brains behave similarly to biological counterparts. These models corresponded with the intellectual abilities and reaction times of their owners.

The researchers were keen on understanding the decision-making process in the brain, as well as the reasons why different individuals make different decisions. The “slow” brains in models and people were discovered to be more synchronized, meaning that they worked in the same rhythms. This allowed neural chains in the frontal lobe to delay solutions longer than less coordinated brains.

In the models, there was competitive decision-making among different neural groups, with the winners being the groups with the most evidence. However, in cases of complex solutions, there was a shortage of clear evidence, leading neural groups to “jump to conclusions.” The study found that synchronization, or the formation of functional networks in the brain, changes working memory properties and the ability to “withstand” for extended periods without a solution.

The collection of evidence for a specific solution sometimes takes a longer amount of time for more complex tasks, but often leads to better results. This study could have significant implications for the understanding of the brain, as well as its potential use in treating neurodegenerative diseases like Dementia and Parkinson’s. Professor Petra Ritter, the head of the brain modeling laboratory at the Berlin Institute of Health, suggests that the modeling technology used in the study has significant potential for personalized planning of surgical and drug interventions, as well as therapeutic brain stimulation.

Doctors could use computer simulations to evaluate which interventions or medicines work best for particular patients, with fewer side effects. This study emphasizes the need for nuanced and personalized treatments for different patients.

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