Network Neuroscience, Explained Via Twister
As a pioneer in the nascent field of network neuroscience, Danielle Bassett, Eduardo D. Glandt Faculty Fellow and Associate Professor in the Department of Bioengineering, studies the way the structure of neuronal connections give rise to cognitive traits. By mapping these networks while people perform different tasks, such as ones related to memory, creativity, or multitasking, Bassett and her colleagues hope to better understand what physical aspects of the brain makes some people learn faster or have an easier time focusing.
The subject is a complicated mixture of advanced mathematics, physics and neurobiology, but the basic principles can be explained with a children’s game.
Vanessa Hill of PBS BrainCraft stopped by Bassett’s office with a box of Twister in hand, using the game’s shifting network of hands and feet to illustrate how connections between different parts of the brain change over time and when switching between tasks.