Brain Scans Could Steer Career Choices

IRVINE, Calif., July 22 (UPI) — People’s aptitudes and abilities could someday be revealed through a brain scan, possibly helping guide their career choices, U.S. researchers say.

University of California, Irvine, Professor Emeritus Richard Haier and a team of researchers conducted MRI brain scans on 40 study participants to determine how well results of the scans correlate to results of eight tests used in vocational guidance. The study was intended to determine whether performance on those tests is a functions of brain structure and whether brain scans can be useful in determining career paths.

“Individual differences in cognitive abilities provide information that is valuable for vocational guidance,” Haier said in a release. “There is some debate, however, as to whether results on individual tests of specific abilities may be more helpful than results on tests of broader factors, like general intelligence. We compared brain networks identified using scores on broad cognitive ability tests to those identified by using specific cognitive tests to determine whether these relatively broad and narrow approaches yield similar results.

“A person’s pattern of cognitive strengths and weaknesses is related to their brain structure, so there is a possibility that brain scans could provide unique information that would be helpful for vocational choice,” Haier said.

The report, published in BMC Research Notes, says the study results warrant further investigation.

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