Scientists from the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Engineering and Applied Science have identified regions and mechanisms in the brain that allow people to multitask. The findings can help in treating conditions such as autism, dementia and schizophrenia.
Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scientists studied interconnections in the brain’s frontal cortex, a region associated with control over thoughts and actions. It was found that the degree to which these networks reconfigure themselves while switching from one task to another task predicts people’s cognitive flexibility. Participants who performed extremely well during a memory test and control test had the most rearrangement of connections within their frontal cortices along with new connections with other areas of their brains.
Researchers state that a comprehensive understanding of how the brain multitasks could address conditions such as autism, schizophrenia and dementia.