NeuRA research reveals complex interplay of nature and nurture in emotion and cognition

February 15, 2024
Mental Health Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA)

The way our brain processes different emotional and cognitive tasks may be underpinned by common factors, find scientists from Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA) and UNSW Sydney.

In their latest study, published in the journal Human Brain MappingDr Haeme Park and Associate Professor Justine Gatt, who hold joint positions at NeuRA and UNSW Psychology, looked at how both emotion and cognition are influenced by the environment and genetics, using functional MRI (fMRI) scans on twins.

There has been quite a lot of research looking at genetic versus environmental influences on brain structure,” says Dr Park, lead author of the study. ​But it’s a lot harder to understand the function of our brains.”

The results revealed that the picture is extremely complex. Some emotional and cognitive tasks were partly associated with genetics, and others exclusively with environment.

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