Mapping human brains and social brains

A Network Map of the Brain

Network maps and network analysis in one discipline can give insights into networks in other systems. E.g., networks maps of brains, immune systems, corporate alliances, and professional social networks all have important similarities; and discoveries and techniques in one field can influence other fields.

A new report published by online journal PLos Biology describes a new method of computational network analysis to map the connections between specialized brain systems. The method uses diffusion imaging to noninvasively map the white matter of the brain (axons and dendrites) rather than the body of the neurons themselves.

The maps revealed a central network core and key hubs in the cerebral cortex, where reasoning, planning, and self-awareness originates.

Cerebral cortex connection network cerebral cortex activity hubs


As reported in a July NY Times article, “The hubs clustered in each man’s brain, in a region about the size of a palm, were centered atop the cortex like a small skullcap. ‘We haven’t had a comprehensive map of the brain showing what is connected to what, and you really need the whole thing before you can ask certain questions, like what happens if activity is clogged up at one of the hubs? How does that effect function?’ said Olaf Sporns, a psychologist at Indiana University and the senior author of the paper.”

So how can we apply this to understanding how “self-awareness” and large-scale planning and events occur in the “global brain” of interconnected humans and groups? Organizational network analysis is extremely useful; but obviously mapping bigger-scale social structures and processes will be much more challenging and will require both better data (including dynamic data) and better techniques. Large scale real-time participation by individuals and groups in online social networks like LinkedIn, Facebook, MySpace, etc., can someday help us do a better analysis of large-scale social intelligence — if the data can be truly open for analysis, while also insuring users’ privacy.

Advertisements

2 Responses to “Mapping human brains and social brains”


  1. 1 Valdis July 9, 2008 at 7:39 pm

    And then there are maps from what we DO with our Brains in a Social setting — work and create patents.

    Here is a link to a portion of the US Patent data base. Two patents are linked iff A cites B.

    Enjoy!


  1. 1 nuance intelligence » Blog Archive » Mapping The Social Brain Trackback on July 18, 2008 at 7:08 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s




Archives

Share this blog

Bookmark and Share

Categories

twitter.com/duncanwork :

Error: Twitter did not respond. Please wait a few minutes and refresh this page.


%d bloggers like this: