Chapter

Predicting human behaviour from brain structure

Geraint Rees and Ryota Kanai

in I Know What You're Thinking

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780199596492
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191745669 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199596492.003.0005
Predicting human behaviour from brain structure

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Where mental activity is concerned, fMRI technology is often used to map ongoing brain activity. In conjunction with pattern-recognition software, this technology has driven recent advances in the imaging of transient mental states and acts. But examination of some structural aspects of the brain also throws light on people's more enduring mental characteristics (‘traits’). This chapter explores and discusses some of these findings. The surprisingly robust correlations that have been established between brain structure and a range of human traits allow us to envisage a scenario in which the scrutiny of someone's brain structure will deliver information about their behavioural dispositions, and even their political commitments, that might not otherwise be available. We can imagine that such information might be of interest to prospective employers; moreover, as brain structure is not something that a person can readily influence, this method of finding out about someone might be more appealing than some of the current methods (interviews, observation, psychometric tests) in which there is sometimes considerable room for manipulation.

Keywords: fMRI; interviews; psychometric tests; mental states; human traits; brain structure

Chapter.  5371 words. 

Subjects: Neuroscience

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