If you hate standardized testing in schools then have a look at this lofty idea. The thought that brain scanning technology could be at a point where it could create a more accurate picture of your intelligence that anything we have today.
If you talk to Richard Haier, an emeritus professor of Neuro-Intelligence at the University of California Irvine, that is exactly the scenario that he envisions is 20 years down the road.
According to Haier:
“Can it be done today? No. Is it in the realm of possibility based on what we’ve already done? Yes. Some day you will be able to have some kind of brain imaging or multiple kinds of brain imaging to assess the quantity and quality of your gray and white matter, the speed of your information processing in specific brain networks, and the neurochemistry of your neurons. The brain imaging data algorithms that combine all this information could well give an accurate indication of your intelligence and your cognitive strengths and weaknesses—maybe even your vocational talents.”
“There was a network distributed around the brain that was related to intelligence, which we named the Parieto-Frontal Integration or P-FIT theory. In our theory, not just the specific brain areas are important but how efficiently information is communicated among those areas.”
Imagine your kids one day will take their college entrance exams by laying on a table while a machine determines exactly what your brain is capable of. Then based on the results, colleges could use that information to determine if they will be accepted.
But the purpose of the research is ultimately to better understand our brains to improve our capabilities and to one day be able to find intelligences like Albert Einstein that may be diamonds in the rough.
“The goal of our research is not to replace the SAT with brain imaging. The goal is to understand what it is about brain characteristics that make some people smarter than others. As we learn about brain/intelligence relationships and mechanisms, we might be able to manipulate the brain to substantially increase intelligence using neurochemicals or other means.”
“There are probably many different ways that the brain can work to create genius. However you want to define genius or intelligence, the brain is where the action is. Einstein’s brain and Isaac Newton’s brain were likely different from my brain and most brains. If you had Einstein and Newton’s brains side by side with the most sophisticated brain imaging, would they be unusual in the same way? Would they be unusual in the same way as a Nobel prize winner in literature?”