A study from Oxford University, published in the Journal of Neuroscience, reveals that the brains of neuroscientist-turned-businesswoman and former Microsoft execs have become a bit more like humans, with their brains being “more like our own”.
The study involved MRI scans of brains of five neuroscientologists who had completed a stint at Microsoft before leaving in 2011.
They found that the scientists had “a more human-like” brain structure than the brains they had studied before, with higher grey matter and less white matter.
It is this difference that led the researchers to conclude that the brain has become more like our brains, they wrote in the journal.
The researchers also noted that their brains were not like those of people with Alzheimer’s disease, as some of the scientists’ brains looked very similar to their own.
“The results are quite intriguing and could be explained by differences in brain function and function of certain areas in the brain, such as the temporal lobes,” said Dr Richard Gies, lead author of the study.
“These areas include the occipital lobe, which is involved in language and spatial processing, as well as the hippocampus, which also helps control emotions and cognition.”
The study did not include participants who had undergone brain surgery, such is the risk of injury.
However, the authors pointed out that the researchers could be influenced by factors that influenced brain function, such the brain’s own ageing.
For example, it could be that the people who had done the surgery were more likely to be healthier than those who had not.
Dr Gies said that the findings were not definitive proof of a link between the brain and cognitive skills, but rather that brain changes were more similar to those seen in people who are mentally healthy.
“There are also differences in how we perceive our surroundings,” he said.
“What we found is that it is the same with people who have been in jobs that have been highly stressful, such a corporate position.”
This suggests that, in a way, these are the same brain areas that are involved in working memory and spatial cognition.
“He said that more research was needed to confirm the findings.”
It is also possible that, because of the way that people think about the world, they may think of brain changes differently to those who are in jobs where they have more freedom and autonomy, as opposed to those in which they are often held in a stressful environment,” Dr Gies explained.