COLUMBUS – It is the premise behind more than one science-fiction movie and television show, but the ability to map the brain’s potential – and maximize it – may be closer than we think, thanks to some researchers at Ohio State. Scientists at OSU at California-Irvine has been awarded one of 16 new National Science Foundation grants for projects designed to answer fundamental questions in brain science. The OSU project stems from the fact that people vary tremendously in cognitive ability and dispositions, which shapes their decision-making preferences and emotional competencies, according to project director Zhong-Lin Lu, professor of psychology and director of OSU’s Center for Cognitive and Behavioral Brain Imaging.

Lu and his colleagues hope to use neuroimaging data provided by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), in combination with cognitive and behavioral measures to predict individuals’ performance in real-world situations. Lu and his fellow researchers will collect data from MRI scans of 500 who also complete detailed questionnaires and behavioral reports.
They will search for “neural underpinnings” that may indicate a particular strength or disability in each subject’s brain, a possible first step toward developing individualized plans to help people maximize their potential, Lu said.

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