The left and right hemispheres of Albert Einstein's brain were unusually well connected to each other and may have contributed to his brilliance. Which would you rather have when it comes to being well-connected: Close brain hemisphere connections inside your head or close family and social media connections outside of yourself? Which counts more, you're inner locus or your outer focus?
The well-connected hemispheres of Einstein's brain may have sparked his brilliance, says a new study. In fact, the left and right hemispheres of Albert Einstein's brain were unusually well connected to each other and may have contributed to his brilliance, according to a new study conducted in part by Florida State University evolutionary anthropologist Dean Falk. You can check out the abstract of the original study, "The corpus callosum of Albert Einstein's brain: Another clue to his high intelligence," just published online in the journal Brain.
"This study, more than any other to date, really gets at the 'inside' of Einstein's brain," Falk said in an October 4, 2013 news release, Well-connected hemispheres of Einstein's brain may have sparked his brilliance. "It provides new information that helps make sense of what is known about the surface of Einstein's brain."
Lead author Weiwei Men of East China Normal University's Department of Physics developed a new technique to conduct the study, which is the first to detail Einstein's corpus callosum, the brain's largest bundle of fibers that connects the two cerebral hemispheres and facilitates interhemispheric communication.
"This technique should be of interest to other researchers who study the brain's all-important internal connectivity," Falk said in the news release
Men's technique measures and color-codes the varying thicknesses of subdivisions of the corpus callosum along its length, where nerves cross from one side of the brain to the other. These thicknesses indicate the number of nerves that cross and therefore how "connected" the two sides of the brain are in particular regions, which facilitate different functions depending on where the fibers cross along the length. For example, movement of the hands is represented toward the front and mental arithmetic along the back.
In particular, this new technique permitted registration and comparison of Einstein's measurements with those of two samples — one of 15 elderly men and one of 52 men Einstein's age in 1905. During his so-called "miracle year" at 26 years old, Einstein published four articles that contributed substantially to the foundation of modern physics and changed the world's views about space, time, mass and energy.
The research team's findings show that Einstein had more extensive connections between certain parts of his cerebral hemispheres compared to both younger and older control groups
The research of Einstein's corpus callosum was initiated by Men, who requested the high-resolution photographs that Falk and other researchers published in 2012 of the inside surfaces of the two halves of Einstein's brain. In addition to Men, the current research team included Falk, who served as second author; Tao Sun of the Washington University School of Medicine; and, from East China Normal University's Department of Physics, Weibo Chen, Jianqi Li, Dazhi Yin, Lili Zang and Mingxia Fan.
It's ironic that when we speak of people being well-connected, most often it's about the people they know and how well received and admired the social connections are of an individual. In Einstein's case, the researchers were looking at how well-connected the neurons and synapses were in Einstein's brain, not in measuring how closely were Einstein's friends were to him or how high and impressive were the socio-economic status of the people to whom he was connected.
It's all the connections in one's brain that count more on certain achievements rather than how well-connected someone is by birth or friendship with others in high rankings socially that counts when it comes to advancing science or at least in solving problems. It's all about connectivity when it comes to what counts inside your brain.