Brain scans may help guide career choice

General aptitude tests and specific mental ability tests are important tools for vocational guidance. Researchers are now asking whether performance on such tests is based on differences in brain structure, and if so, can brain scans be helpful in choosing a career?

In a first step, researchers writing in the open access journal BMC Research Notes have investigated how well eight tests used in vocational guidance correlate to in areas throughout the brain.

Richard Haier, from the University of California, USA, worked with a team of researchers to investigate the neurological basis for performance on each of the tests. He said, "Individual differences in provide information that is valuable for vocational guidance.

There is some debate, however, as to whether results on individual tests of specific abilities may be more helpful than results on tests of broader factors, like general intelligence. We compared brain networks identified using scores on broad cognitive ability tests to those identified by using specific cognitive tests to determine whether these relatively broad and narrow approaches yield similar results".

Using MRI, the researchers correlated gray matter with independent ability factors (general intelligence, speed of reasoning, numerical, spatial, memory) and with individual test scores from a battery of completed by 40 individuals seeking vocational guidance. They found that, in general, the grey matter correlates for the broad and narrow test types were different.

Speaking about the results Haier said, "A person's pattern of cognitive strengths and weaknesses is related to their , so there is a possibility that could provide unique information that would be helpful for vocational choice. Our current results form a basis to investigate this further."


Explore further

Kidney transplantation provides cognitive benefits for patients with kidney disease

More information: Gray matter correlates of cognitive ability tests used for vocational guidance, Richard J Haier, David H Schroeder, Cheuk Tang, Kevin Head and Roberto Colom, BMC Research Notes (in press), www.biomedcentral.com/bmcresnotes/
Provided by BioMed Central
Citation: Brain scans may help guide career choice (2010, July 21) retrieved 14 June 2021 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2010-07-brain-scans-career-choice.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
 shares

Feedback to editors

User comments