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‘Router’ hooks up brain for new challenges

brain diagram

“Flexible hubs” in a core brain network could account for humans’ unique ability to use skills from one context to handle new tasks in another.

The background diagram shows 264 brain regions in the human brain color coded by network affiliation. The center sphere shows networks labeled with their potential functions; lines indicate how much inter-network communication changes across dozens of tasks, with especially dramatic changes in bold.

By improving our understanding of cognitive processes behind the brain’s handling of novel situations, the flexible hub theory may one day help us improve the way we respond to the challenges of everyday life, such as when learning to use new technology, says Michael Cole, a postdoctoral research associate in psychology at Washington University in St. Louis.

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Photo credit: Michael Cole/Washington U.–St. Louis

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