Study Says Brain Shape Affects Thoughts and Behavior

2 min read

June 1, 2023 -- The shape of the brain might play a greater role on our thoughts, feelings, and actions than traditionally believed, according to a new study in the journal Nature.

Researchers in Australia took brain MRIs of 255 people while they were doing things like tapping their fingers or recalling a series of images. 

The researchers also looked at 10,000 maps of brain activity from more than 1,000 experiments around the world to learn more about how brain shape affects brain function. 

Computer models were then used to see how size and shape affected brain waves. 

“The comparison showed that the new model provided a more accurate reconstruction of the brain activity shown in the MRI scans and brain activity maps than the prior model,” NBC News reported. “James Pang, the study’s lead author and a research fellow at Monash University in Australia, likened the significance of brain shape to a pebble making ripples in a pond: The size and shape of the pond helps determine the nature of those ripples.”

Pang said neural interaction is important, but the shape of the surface of the brain might be more essential in how it functions.

He also said brain shape is easier to measure than wiring, so it could lead to new research possibilities.

NBC noted not all scientists agree with the research.

"It would be an understatement to say this is a controversial theory, and it really needs to be put through its paces to evaluate critically whether it stands the test of time," said David Van Essen, a neuroscience professor at Washington University in St. Louis.