April 8, 2009

Where is the Wisdom?

You've often heard people ask, "Where is the wisdom?"

University of California San Diego researchers wanted to know where the wisdom is literally "“ in the brain. Their study reviewed the medical literature on brain studies aimed at pinpointing various areas involved in wise thinking. Most used functional neuroimaging studies to gauge changes in blood flow, metabolism, and other factors as people thought about specific things related to wisdom, such as a situation calling for altruism or one involving moral decision-making.

Results showed several different brain areas are involved, including those considered to be more primitive and those thought to have developed more recently in humans. The key, conclude these investigators, might lie in a proper balance between these different areas.

Why seek out the seat of wisdom in the first place? The researchers emphasize more than just curiosity is involved in their studies.

"Understanding the neurobiology of wisdom may have considerable clinical significance, for example, in studying how certain disorders or traumatic brain injuries can affect traits related to wisdom," study author Dilip V. Jeste, M.D., was quoted as saying.

SOURCE: Archives of General Psychiatry, published online April 6, 2009