As we age, changes in the brain’s white-matter pathways make decision-making in unfamiliar situations tougher, but there may be effective ways to intervene.
The brain-mapping study from Vanderbilt University finds that people’s ability to make decisions in novel situations decreases with age and is associated with a reduction in the integrity of two specific white-matter pathways that connect an area in the cerebral cortex called the medial prefrontal cortex with two other areas deeper in the brain.
White matter has been linked to the brain’s processing speed and attention span, among other things, but this is the first study, published in The Journal of Neuroscience, to link white matter to learning and decision-making.
“Several studies have shown that white-matter connections can be strengthened by specific forms of cognitive training,” says Gregory R. Samanez-Larkin, the study’s first author and post-doctoral fellow in the psychology department and Institute of Imaging Science.

As we age, changes in the brain’s white-matter pathways make decision-making in unfamiliar situations tougher, but there may be effective ways to intervene.

The brain-mapping study from Vanderbilt University finds that people’s ability to make decisions in novel situations decreases with age and is associated with a reduction in the integrity of two specific white-matter pathways that connect an area in the cerebral cortex called the medial prefrontal cortex with two other areas deeper in the brain.

White matter has been linked to the brain’s processing speed and attention span, among other things, but this is the first study, published in The Journal of Neuroscience, to link white matter to learning and decision-making.

“Several studies have shown that white-matter connections can be strengthened by specific forms of cognitive training,” says Gregory R. Samanez-Larkin, the study’s first author and post-doctoral fellow in the psychology department and Institute of Imaging Science.

(Source: futurity.org)