Imagine Magazine - Johns Hopkins - September/October 2012 - (Page 14)

same and different Highly Able and twice-Exceptional brains at Work by layne Kalbfleisch, Phd W e all have brains that function in similar ways for certain tasks, such as reading, calculating numbers, and throwing a ball, yet some of us are better at these skills than others and learn them more quickly. Throughout your young life, you have probably been described as creative, talented, intelligent, or resourceful. Perhaps you are an excellent student of mathematics, physics, art, or literature, or a talented athletic, artistic, or musical performer. Perhaps your skills, abilities, and talents fall into more than one of these categories. Do you ever wonder how it is that you can do these things—and why some others cannot? Through the use of neuroimaging technology such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), neuroscientists are starting to get a better understanding of what it means to be intelligent, creative, and talented, both in general and in specific cases. In KIDLAB, my lab at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, we conduct imaging experiments to study the neural bases of talent and some of the many ways that brain processes are dedicated to solving problems, learning, and paying attention. We are particularly interested in how these processes develop and how they are expressed differently in people who are “twice exceptional”: people who have both high levels of intelligence and an attention or processing disorder, learning disability, or autism. differences in Form and Function The story of gray matter development in the human brain is one of both gain and loss. When you learn something new or are captivated and absorbed in learning, gray matter becomes more dense and more tightly structured. If you are then bored and unmotivated for a time, or unhappily stressed for a long period of time, gray matter can also retract or shrink to a less efficient form. This phenomenon is largely the basis for the statement that the brain is “plastic”—it responds to experience. Changes in gray matter allow us to see the effects of experience most quickly and dramatically in the human brain. However, underneath that pattern of plasticity, gray matter, at certain times during the first dozen or so years of life, is also pruned. The 14 imagine sept/oct 2012 vEcTorsTock, ThinksTock

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Imagine Magazine - Johns Hopkins - September/October 2012

Imagine Magazine - Johns Hopkins - September/October 2012
Big Picture
In My Own Words
The Proper Care and Feeding of the Teenage Brain
Building Brain Power Through the International Brain Bee
CTY Neuroscience
Same and Different
Braingate: Turning Thoughts Into Action
Shedding Light on Schizophrenia
Unraveling the Mysteries of Memory
Through the Looking Glass
Selected Opportunities & Resources
Fencing Lessons
Off the Shelf
Word Wise
Exploring Career Options
One Step Ahead
Planning Ahead for College
Students Review
Creative Minds Imagine
Mark Your Calendar
Knossos Games

Imagine Magazine - Johns Hopkins - September/October 2012