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Intelligence - nature or nurture? Researchers find a gene for intelligence and also that a bigger brain matters, yet other recent articles show how motivation affects learning.

The brain game: How decreased neural activity may help you learn faster

Why are some people able to master a new skill quickly while others require extra time or practice? Counterintuitive as it may seem, study participants who showed decreased neural activity learned the fastest. The critical distinction was in areas not directly related to seeing the cues or playing the notes that participants were trying to learn: the frontal cortex and the anterior cingulate cortex. These cognitive control centers are thought to be most responsible for what is known as executive function. The frontal cortex and the anterior cingulate cortex are among the last brain regions to fully develop in humans, which may help explain why children are able to acquire new skills quickly as compared to adults.
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