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Network Model For Tracking Twitter Memes Sheds Light on Information Spreading in the Brain


A look at the speed at which different connections in the brain are used to spread information.

Researchers at Indiana University are working with colleagues in Switzerland to map the diffusion of information through the human brain.

Credit: Olaf Sporns/Bratislav Misic

Indiana University (IU) researchers are working with colleagues in Switzerland to track the spread of information across the human brain, using data-mapping methods originally created to track the spread of information on social networks.

The researchers found applying social network models to the brain reveals specific connections and nodes that may be responsible for higher forms of cognition.

The researchers performed diffusion-spectrum imaging on the brains of 40 research volunteers, and created a composite map of regions and long-range connections in the brain. They then applied a dynamic model for information spreading based on a previous model designed for tracking viral memes. The resulting model revealed an insightful global view of the brain's information architecture, providing data on how the brain's network structures support the spread of information.

"The model allows us to track those signals and see how they travel through the brain's network and where they meet up, with these meeting points appearing to represent 'higher-level' areas in the brain's hierarchy," says IU researcher Bratislav Misic. Going forward, the researchers want to study the role of individual differences in brain networks, and how brain lesions could affect the brain's ability to distribute information.

From IU Bloomington Newsroom
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