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Pilots' brains are wired differently

How do you “wire” a brain anyway, and what does it mean that a brain is “wired” in one or the other way ? I really don’t know.

But, lets assume that learning a specific skill, like playing a violin, is a process of reorganizing synapses in the brain, making new paths, strengthening existing paths, ignoring other paths, something like that. I mean, something must have changed up there, or the new skill would never be learned. Then it would be reasonable to assume that everyone who have learned to play a violin would have had to have a similar “reorganizing process” to their brains. Their brains would be similarly “wired”. This however, is due to learning a skill and practicing the skill. It doesn’t need to have much to do with how the brain is originally wired.

ENVA ENOP ENMO, Norway

Yes, every learning is a “rewiring” of the brain – and that can be taken quite literally as it is really the case that new linkages between neurons are made.

Therefore you are perfectly right that if you learn something new, your brain after that is “wired differently”. The story gets interesting, when these individual connections overall lead to statistically significant changes in how different areas of the brain are connected. And here the result (with all caution due to the low sample size) are quite interesting.

Even more interesting is, that AVweb (and hence also Peter) only cite the “positive” part of the results and not the “negative” ones. The original publication reads:
“Compared to the control group, the pilots exhibited decreased functional connectivity within the central executive network and enhanced functional connections between the central executive network, salience network, and default mode network.”

Or to tell it in a short way: Pilots have a more direct connection between input and action and less processing power to combine different sources of information.

So pilots are simple minds that are trained to react fast with standardized reactions rather than weighting numerous input factors against each other and deriving the best solution in a longer thought process.

Germany

That’s the drawback of specialisation

To be any good at anything you need to specialise.

The more you specialise the more you are likely to be called a “nerd” or “anorak”. Except for pilots of course; they are always cool

So pilots are simple minds that are trained to react fast with standardized reactions rather than weighting numerous input factors against each other and deriving the best solution in a longer thought process.

Not sure I agree with that. I think the process is just different to ones used in daily life, and more specialised to the task.

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Peter wrote:

To be any good at anything you need to specialise.

Yep, and as the saying goes: a very good specialist knows everything about nothing and a very generalist knows nothing about everything

ENVA, Norway

Maoraigh wrote:

Not after a number of hours or years, but related to the age at which you learned to fly. Not your age, not your hours. It was, I think, a study of many factors, linked from the AAIB site many years ago.

Interesting. Any Links to that study?

Freelance IRI / CB-IR Instructor
LOWG | Worldwide
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