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Nat Rev Neurosci. 2011 Apr;12(4):231-42. doi: 10.1038/nrn3000. Epub 2011 Mar 16.

The structural basis of inter-individual differences in human behaviour and cognition.

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  • 1The UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, University College London, Alexandra House, 17 Queen Square, London WC1N 3AR, UK. r.kanai@ucl.ac.uk

Abstract

Inter-individual variability in perception, thought and action is frequently treated as a source of 'noise' in scientific investigations of the neural mechanisms that underlie these processes, and discarded by averaging data from a group of participants. However, recent MRI studies in the human brain show that inter-individual variability in a wide range of basic and higher cognitive functions - including perception, motor control, memory, aspects of consciousness and the ability to introspect - can be predicted from the local structure of grey and white matter as assessed by voxel-based morphometry or diffusion tensor imaging. We propose that inter-individual differences can be used as a source of information to link human behaviour and cognition to brain anatomy.

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