Temple Grandin's brain doesn't just think differently, it is physically different

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16 Responses to “Temple Grandin's brain doesn't just think differently, it is physically different”

  1. acerplatanoides says:

    Everyone should watch this, too. She’s amazing.

    http://www.ted.com/talks/temple_grandin_the_world_needs_all_kinds_of_minds.html

  2. Pope Ratzo says:

    “Temple Grandin’s Brain” was the name of my band when I was in college.

  3. edubs says:

    Just remember that more isn’t necessarily better. Humans undergo synaptic pruning during their development. This is in part how learning occurs, some connections are strengthened and others weakened through experience and neurons without sufficient connections or signaling strength are “pruned.”

  4. I look forward to reading this article!

    Last night I finished An Anthropologist On Mars in a insomiac haze.

    Interesting book.

  5. John Verne says:

    I thought “neuro-typical” was actually not very typical at all. Just saying.

  6. Joe Maynard says:

    FWIW, according to a commenter who was at the conference, the control group they were comparing her to was comprised of a whopping three people… and the differences between each brain in the group and any other was just as significant as the differences between Temple Grandin’s brain and those of the ‘control’ group… if true, the scientific validity of this is obviously questionable…

  7. Mark_Frauenfelder says:

    I had a 15 minute conversation with Ms. Grandin at TED a few years ago. She was pleasant and fun to talk to.

  8. jhavatar says:

    ah, k. so that explains all his song ideas.

  9. Marcie Fehr says:

    While this is indeed interesting, it’s important to remember to be cautious with discoveries of how the brain develops in the womb — this could lead to eugenics, and the absence of specialized brilliance for the sake of supposed normalcy. 

    • wysinwyg says:

      So…don’t study the brain because it could lead to eugenics?

      As we’ve seen from history people will use any stupid excuse to justify eugenics.  I tend to think insights like this actually make it less likely.

  10. kent williams says:

    I was at a talk Ms. Grandin gave at the University of Iowa College of Medicine earlier this year. She was very proud of the DTI (Diffusion Tensor Imaging) images of her brain, and compared them with images of normal brains.  DTI images outline the white matter fiber bundles of the brain, showing interconnections between different parts of the brain.

    I actually work in a lab that processes a lot of DTI Images.  In terms of the real science of brain imaging, I think some healthy skepticism is in order.  We can now generate and process detailed images of brain anatomy, and observe phenomena like Ms Grandin’s very different brain interconnections.  What is not clear is what that means exactly.  What’s even less clear is the therapeutic and scientific value of these observations.

    Even as a mountain of research into the human brain accumulates, we are just beginning to grope towards useful insights regarding it.  Yes, Temple Grandin’s brain is different than yours or mine, but you didn’t need an MRI scanner to know that. 

    • wysinwyg says:

       Well, yeah I did.  It’s completely possible that people could think and behave very differently while having very physically similar brains.  The fact that behavioral differences correlate to physiological differences may be intuitive but you still need to actually do the studies before you can conclude it’s true.

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