Tag Archives: neuroscience

Rav Todot, Scientific American (Mind)

Magazines, sweet sweet bastions of literacy.  How you unveil niche zeitgeists, how you motivate innovation, how you tell the untold stories.  Well, not all of you, of course.  Most racks are dominated by the glossy consumerist lobotomy movement.  It takes a good dig to find print gems like Scientific American, The Economist, Mother Jones, The Atlantic . . .

And with the print world itself in a questionable state, I imagine there will soon be just a few tactile symbols of our page-turning days left.  Actual magazines and books will one day be the 78’s and 45’s of the literary world.

I still revel in the thrill of getting my subscription magazines delivered to my apartment (and pray my neighbors won’t steal them!).  Getting a Scientific American Mind in the mail means a guaranteed interesting subway ride to work that day.  And for that, today, I’m grateful!


From the brilliant website of the aforementioned magazine …


The Neuroscience Lessons of Freestyle Rap

What brain scans of rap artists reveal about creativity—and what they do not

By Arne Dietrich  | Tuesday, December 18, 2012

singing into a microphone Flow state Image: iStock/Richard Simpson

Even for the wilderness of human thinking, creative ideas seem to be deliberately designed to defy empirical enquiry. There is something elusive and mystical, perhaps even sacred, about them. So what is a neuroscientist to do if she wants to study inspiration in the lab, under tightly controlled conditions? Clearly, she cannot simply take volunteers, shove them into the nearest brain scanner and tell them: now, please be creative! That’s why most paying members of the Society for Neuroscience find the prospect of studying creativity akin to trying to nail jelly to the wall. But don’t forget: big, intractable problems in science have always been more of a calling.

Previous attempts to tighten the screws on this vexed problem have, even if you allow for some breathers, turned out to be fizzers. Take the gold standard of catching creativity in flagrante: the infamous Alternative Uses Test. In hindsight, it is easy to see that having a test subject list as many alternative uses of some common object was never going to yield much real-world validity. Think about it. Could we really expect a testing instrument that asks you to imagine alternative uses of a safety pin to tell an Einstein from a certified public accountant? After a few decades of this kind of myopic research, the cul-de-sac we stumbled into is plain for everyone to see. While much ink has been spilled over creativity from social, psychological, and historical perspectives, filling shelves of books and articles, we know next to nothing about the mechanisms, cognitive or neural, that give rise to creativity.

It is high time, then, that neuroscientists become more creative about creativity. A new paper by Liu and his colleagues is a welcome example of just that. It joins what is still a slow trickle of studies taking a fresh stab at creativity. In this case, the scientists picked freestyle rap as their “task,” a choice both cunning and clever. The entanglement of rap and neuroscience – however irrelevant to the study’s interesting results – strikes all the right chords for coverage in the tweet-sized attention span of modern news reporting. The next thing in tow, given the drift of things, is surely an MRI scan showing the brain activity of experts playing Fruit Ninja! One only hopes that in all the brouhaha about the hip-hop brain some relevant characteristics of this behavioral measure are not lost. Like free jazz improvisation, freestyle rap lends itself nicely to creative expression in the lab because it can be prompted – in this case by asking rappers to improvise rhymes and lyrical cadences to an 8-bar beat. What’s more, it can easily be contrasted with an appropriate control condition – a set of lyrics already committed to memory and performed to the same beat. The spontaneous generation of freestyle performance, a common genre of artistic expression, taps into a flow state and for this special state of consciousness we do seem to understand some of the underlying neurocognitive mechanism.

So what did we learn in this experiment? Quite a bit, as it happens. The key finding is the dissociation of two prefrontal areas during spontaneous composition of artistic content. The medial prefrontal cortex showed increased activity, and the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex – DLPFC for short – showed decreased activity. While the former has been in the news lately for its association with various aspects of social cognition – self-perception, self-knowledge, moral decisions, etc. – the DLPFC has long been known to mediate the so-called higher mental functions: executive attention, working memory, willed action and cognitive control.

Given that creativity is among the most extraordinary capacities of the human mind, one would think that our most highly prized piece of cortical real estate, the DLPFC, would need to run on all cylinders here. But this does not seem to be the case. Turns out, there is already a term for this phenomenon: Transient hypofrontality. It refers to the temporary downregulation of hyper-analytical and metacognitive processes which – oftentimes needlessly – limit the solutions space in a creative endeavor. With these toned down, more remote associations can occur. Importantly, this new experiment confirms this hypothesis. In addition, it shows that the heightened activation in the medial prefrontal cortex is accompanied by similar increases in activation in language areas (around the lateral fissure), the amygdala and the cingulate motor cortex, all of which form a network in which freestyle artistic expression may unfold.

Unfortunately, and this is the only slip here, the authors seem to fall prey to the monolithic entity fallacy that is so common among people writing about creativity. In discussing the data, they show the tendency to write about creativity per se, as if there is only one kind. But the study’s results do not hold when generalized to creativity as a whole. The present experiment evokes only one specific type of creativity, one that is characterized by spontaneous generation and one that requires immediate expression in the form of motor output. There is quite a bit of evidence to suggest that in other types of creativity the exact opposite brain pattern emerges. Increased activity in the DLPFC, the very area downregulated in Liu’s study, is upregulated in some forms of insightful problem solving. Sure, anecdotal stories abound that portray the creative process as effortless, ephemeral and unintentional. From Kekulé’s daydream of whirling snakes forming a (benzene) ring to Coleridge’s poem Kublai Khan, such flashes of insight are the very cliché of the creative genius.

But it only takes a moment’s reflection to see that the opposite also holds. For all the uplifting stories, the Einsteins riding on beams of light, the Newtons watching falling apples (a myth likely originating from Voltaire) or the Archimedeses displacing bathwater, creative ideas can just as easily be the result of laborious trial and error, which – clearly – requires the activation of executive processes in the DLPFC. What would we otherwise make of Edison’s “empirical dragnet” method that yielded a total of 1093 patents; Watson and Crick’s algorithmic approach to testing the stability of DNA base pairs; Bach’s assembly-line tactic to composing hundreds of cantatas; the imaginative ways in which NASA engineers solved the problems of the otherwise doomed Apollo 13 mission; or the countless occasions each one of us has converged on a creative solution by systematically eliminating alternative possibilities?

The deadly error here is seeing creativity as one thing, but not the other. When it comes to mechanistic explanations, the field of creativity is riddled with examples of such premature category formations. Open any source on the topic – academic or otherwise – and you will find creativity linked with, say, low arousal, defocused attention, right brains, unconscious processes, lateral thinking, altered states of consciousness, or mental illness, to name but a few popular duds. Commonsense alone tells us that their opposites are also sources of creative thinking. What has come into clear focus in recent years is that creativity is too complex, and too distributed in the brain, to be captured in a net held together by such ontological danglers. I hope we do not do this with the prefrontal cortex.

Are you a scientist who specializes in neuroscience, cognitive science, or psychology? And have you read a recent peer-reviewed paper that you would like to write about? Please send suggestions to Mind Matters editor Gareth Cook, a Pulitzer prize-winning journalist at the Boston Globe. He can be reached at garethideas AT gmail.com or Twitter @garethideas.


3 Buddhist Techniques to Feel More Awake!

Need a little boost at the end of your working week?

I read a wonderful book last year by Rick Hanson called “Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love and Wisdom.”  It connects the dots between Buddhist techniques and why they work by explaining their effects on the brain and body.

Here are three ways, according to the book, Buddhist techniques can help us be more awake and alert.  Experiment with them yourself and see if you find similar results:

  • Sitting in an erect posture provides internal feedback to the reticular formation – a mesh-like network of nerves in the brain stem which is involved with wakefulness and consciousness – telling it that you need to stay vigilant and alert.  This is a neurological reason behind a schoolteacher’s demands to “sit up straight, class!” as well as the classic meditation instruction to sit upright in a dignified way.
  • “Brighten the mind” is a traditional phrase used to describe infusing your awareness with energy and clarity.  In fact, to overcome drowsiness, it’s sometimes suggested that you literally visualize light. Neurologically, this “brightening” likely involves a surge of norephinephrine throughout the brain; that neurotransmitter – also triggered by the stress-response cascade – is a general orienting signal that fosters alertness.
  • Oxygen is to the nervous system what gasoline is to your car.  Although just 2 percent of body weight, your bran uses roughly 20 percent of your oxygen.  By taking several deep breaths, you increase oxygen saturation in your blood and thus rev up your brain.


A Better Brain?

Words: Sharon Begley for Newsweek

Illustration: Peter Arkle

This would be a whole lot easier—this quest for ways to improve our brain—if scientists understood the mechanisms of intelligence even half as well as they do the mechanisms of, say, muscular strength. If we had the neuronal version of how lifting weights increases strength (chemical and electrical signals increase the number of filament bundles inside muscle cells), we’d be good to go. For starters, we could dismiss claims for the brain versions of eight-second abs—claims that if we use this brain-training website or practice that form of meditation or eat blueberries or chew gum or have lots of friends, we will be smarter and more creative, able to figure out whether to do a Roth conversion, remember who gave us that fruitcake (the better to retaliate next year), and actually understand the NFL’s wild-card tiebreaker system.

But what neuroscientists don’t know about the mechanisms of cognition—about what is physically different between a dumb brain and a smart one and how to make the first more like the second—could fill volumes. Actually, it does. Whether you go neuro-slumming (Googling “brain training”) or keep to the high road (searching PubMed, the database of biomedical journals, for “cognitive enhancement”), you will find no dearth of advice. But it is rife with problems. Many of the suggestions come from observational studies, which take people who do X and ask, are they smarter (by some measure) than people who do not do X? Just because the answer is yes doesn’t mean X makes you smart. People who use their gym locker tend to be fitter than those who don’t, but it is not using a gym locker that raises your aerobic capacity. Knowing the mechanisms of exercise physiology averts that error. Not knowing the mechanism of cognitive enhancement makes us sitting ducks for dubious claims, since few studies claiming that X makes people smarter invoke any plausible mechanism by which that might happen. “There are lots of quick and dirty studies of cognitive enhancement that make the news, but the number of rigorous, well-designed studies that will stand the test of time is much smaller,” says neuroscientist Peter Snyder of Brown University Medical School. “We’re sort of in the Wild West.”

A 2010 evaluation of purported ways to maintain or improve cognitive function, conducted for the National Institutes of Health, shows how many of the claims for cognitive enhancers are as sketchy as a Wild West poker player with a fifth ace up his sleeve. Vitamins B6, B12, and E; beta carotene; folic acid; and the trendy antioxidants called flavenoids are all busts, and the evidence for alcohol, omega-3s (the fatty acids in fish), or having a large social network is weak. The Mediterranean diet is associated with a lower risk of cognitive decline, find observational studies, but that hasn’t been confirmed in more rigorous, randomized controlled studies, and no one knows whether the benefit comes from what the diet includes (olive oil, fish, vegetables, wine) or what it excludes (red meat, refined sugars, dairy fat). Statins don’t help, and neither do estrogen or NSAIDs (aspirin, ibuprofen). Be skeptical of practices that promise to make you smarter by increasing blood flow to the brain—there is no evidence that’s the limiting factor in normal people. Yes, you can find individual studies concluding that one or another hype-heavy intervention helps your brain, but the conclusion of any single study is more likely to be wrong than right. (For one thing, scientists and journals prefer positive findings and bury negative studies.) Only by assessing all the evidence from all the studies, as the NIH evaluation did, can you get the true picture.

The quest for effective ways to boost cognitive capacity is not hopeless, however. The explosion in neuroscience is slowly revealing the mechanisms of cognition. “We have accumulated enough knowledge about the mechanisms and molecular underpinnings of cognitionat the synaptic and circuit levels to say something about which processes contribute,” says James Bibb of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, who organized a symposium on “cognitive enhancement strategies” at the 2010 meeting of the Society for Neuroscience. Greater cognitive capacity comes from having more neurons or synapses, higher levels of neurogenesis (the creation of new neurons, especially in the memory-forming hippocampus), and increased production of compounds such as BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor), which stimulates the production of neurons and synapses, says neuroscientist Yaakov Stern of Columbia University. Both neurogenesis and synapse formation boost learning, memory, reasoning, and creativity. And in people who excel at particular tasks, Stern’s neuro-imaging studies show, brain circuits tend to be more efficient (using less energy even as cognitive demand increases), higher capacity, and more flexible.

One of the strongest findings in neuroplasticity, the science of how the brain changes its structure and function in response to input, is that attention is almost magical in its ability to physically alter the brain and enlarge functional circuits. In a classic experiment, scientists found that when monkeys repeatedly practiced fine-tactile perception, the relevant brain region expanded, just as it does when people learn Braille or the violin. Similarly, a region of the auditory cortex expands when we hear a particular tone over and over. (Yes, the spot that processes your ringtone is encroaching on next-door areas.) But when monkeys simultaneously touched something and listened to tones, only the brain region controlling the input they were trained to focus on expanded. In other words, identical input—tactile sensations and sounds—produces a different result, expanding a brain area or not, depending only on whether attention is being paid.

That might explain why skills we’re already good at don’t make us much smarter: we don’t pay much attention to them. In contrast, taking up a new, cognitively demanding activity—ballroom dancing, a foreign language—is more likely to boost processing speed, strengthen synapses, and expand or create functional networks.

By nailing down the underpinnings of cognition, neuroscientists can separate plausible brain boosters from dubious ones. With apologies to the political-correctness police, nicotine enhances attention—that key driver of neuroplasticity—and cognitive performance in both smokers and nonsmokers, scientists at the National Institute on Drug Abuse reported in a 2010 analysis of 41 double-blind, placebo-controlled studies. Nicotine, they found, has “significant positive effects” on fine motor skills, the accuracy of short-term memory, some forms of attention, and working memory, among other basic cognitive skills. The improvements “likely represent true performance enhancement” and “beneficial cognitive effects.” The reason is that nicotine binds to the brain receptors for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine that are central players in cortical circuits. (Caveat: smoking also increases your risk of dementia, so while cigarettes may boost your memory and attention now, you could pay for it later. To be determined: whether a nicotine patch delivers the benefits without the risks.

Neuroscience supports the cognitive benefits of stimulants like Adderall and Ritalin, too, at least in some people for some tasks. Both drugs (as well as caffeine) raise the brain levels of dopamine, the juice that produces motivation and the feeling of reward. On balance, finds psychologist Martha Farah of the University of Pennsylvania, studies show that both drugs enhance the recall of memorized words as well as working memory (the brain’s scratchpad, which plays a key role in fluid intelligence). They do not improve verbal fluency, reasoning, or abstract thought, however, nor provide much benefit to people with a gene variant that keeps dopamine activity high, Farah found in a recent study.

These limitations suggest two things. First, if you’re naturally awash in dopamine and are highly motivated to, say, deduce from its source code how a website was built, then increasing dopamine levels pharmacologically is unlikely to help. Farah found no difference between the performance of volunteers given Adderall and volunteers given a placebo on a battery of cognitive tasks, suggesting that you can get the same dopamine-boosting benefits of the drug by simply believing that you’ll do well, which itself releases dopamine. Second, the divide between the mental functions that drugs do and don’t improve suggests that psychological factors such as motivation and reward help with memory, but not higher-order processes such as abstract thought. The drugs “will help some people some of the time, but maybe not by a whole lot,” she concludes. Fun fact for anyone hoping for IQ in a pill: a recent survey of doctors finds they’re more comfortable prescribing sex drugs than smart drugs.

Knowing that Adderall and Ritalin work, when they do, by giving you motivation and a sense of reward from, say, solving a Sudoku puzzle implies that other ways to achieve those feelings will also boost mental performance. That’s probably the mechanism by which a whole slew of tricks work. Take, for instance, the “ancestor effect.” As a paper to be published in the European Journal of Social Psychology reports, “thinking about our genetic origin”—how Grandpa survived the Depression, how Great-Grandma eluded the Cossacks, et al.— “enhances intellectual performance.” The mechanism responsible for that is an increase in confidence and motivation—Adderall without the prescription. Along the same lines, a positive mood—even the kind that comes from watching “Sneezing Panda” on YouTube—can enhance creative problem-solving, finds a new paper in Psychological Science. In this case, reducing stress and the resulting cortisol, which attacks the myelin sheath that coats neurons and thus impairs signal transmission, allows underlying abilities to reach their full potential. Finally, being told that you belong to a group that does very well on a test tends to let you do better than if you’re told you belong to a group that does poorly; the latter floods you with cortisol, while the former gives you the wherewithal and dopamine surge to keep plugging away.

But there’s a difference between reaching your natural potential by removing impediments such as stress and actually raising that potential. The latter requires tapping into one of the best-established phenomena in neuroscience—namely, that the more you use a circuit, the stronger it gets. As a result, a skill you focus and train on improves, and even commandeers more neuronal real estate, with corresponding improvements in performance. London cabdrivers who memorize that city’s insanely confusing streets (25,000 of them) have a larger posterior hippocampus, the region that files spatial memories, than the average Londoner, neuroscientist Eleanor Maguire of University College London discovered in 2003. Conversely, if we offload our navigational ability onto GPS, we’ll lose it.

The rule that “neurons that fire together, wire together” suggests that cognitive training should boost mental prowess. Studies are finding just that, but with a crucial caveat. Training your memory, reasoning, or speed of processing improves that skill, found a large government-sponsored study called Active. Unfortunately, there is no transfer: improving processing speed does not improve memory, and improving memory does not improve reasoning. Similarly, doing crossword puzzles will improve your ability to?.?.?.?do crosswords. “The research so far suggests that cognitive training benefits only the task used in training and does not generalize to other tasks,” says Columbia’s Stern.

The holy grail of brain training is something that does transfer, and here there are three good candidates. The first is physical exercise. Simple aerobic exercise, such as walking 45 minutes a day three times a week, improves episodic memory and executive-control functions by about 20 percent, finds Art Kramer of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His studies have mostly been done in older adults, so it’s possible the results apply only to people whose brain physiology has begun to deteriorate—except that that happens starting in our 20s. Exercise gooses the creation of new neurons in the region of the hippocampus that files away experiences and new knowledge. It also stimulates the production of neuron fertilizers such as BDNF, as well as of the neurotransmitters that carry brain signals, and of gray matter in the prefrontal cortex. Exercise stimulates the production of new synapses, the connections that constitute functional circuits and whose capacity and efficiency underlie superior intelligence. Kramer finds that a year of exercise can give a 70-year-old the connectivity of a 30-year-old, improving memory, planning, dealing with ambiguity, and multitasking. “You can think of fitness training as changing the molecular and cellular building blocks that underlie many cognitive skills,” he says. “It thus provides more generalizable benefits than specifically training memory or decision making.”

The second form of overall mental training is meditation, which can increase the thickness of regions that control attention and process sensory signals from the outside world. In a program that neuroscientist Amishi Jha of the University of Miami calls mindfulness-based mind-fitness training, participants build concentration by focusing on one object, such as a particular body sensation. The training, she says, has shown success in enhancing mental agility and attention “by changing brain structure and function so that brain processes are more efficient,” the quality associated with higher intelligence.

Finally, some videogames might improve general mental agility. Stern has trained older adults to play a complex computer-based action game called Space Fortress, which requires players to shoot missiles and destroy the fortress while protecting their spaceship against missiles and mines. “It requires motor control, visual search, working memory, long-term memory, and decision making,” he says. It also requires that elixir of neuroplasticity: attention, specifically the ability to control and switch attention among different tasks. “People get better on tests of memory, motor speed, visual-spatial skills, and tasks requiring cognitive flexibility,” says Stern. Kramer, too, finds that the strategy-heavy videogame Rise of Nations improves executive-control functions such as task switching, working memory, visual short-term memory, and reasoning in older adults.

Few games or training programs have been tested to this extent, and many of those that have been come up short. Those with increasing levels of difficulty and intense demands on attentional capacity—focus as well as switching—probably do the most good … as does taking a brisk walk in between levels.

With Ian Yarett

Harnessing the Power of the Mind

A new wave of technology is hitting the market, fresh out of development in private, public and university settings. Designed to read the millions of messages the brain communicates through the reading of brainwaves (beta, alpha, theta, delta, etc.), these devices are similar to the EEG machine – minus the hideous electrodes pasted to your skull!

The reading of brainwaves has been used in psychology for decades.  More recently, South Korea’s archery team trained using biofeedback to increase their accuracy and focus.  The implications are incredibly broad. Improve your memory, up your golf game, fulfill your fantasies of telekinesis!


One of the more socially conscious inventions, recently featured on the Discovery Channel, is a non-aggressive socio-responsible gaming line, specifically designed to encourage users to learn how to access certain brainwaves to simply relax.  The more relaxed you are (the more beta waves you emit to the headset), the further along your character goes in the game!  Meditators, ya’ll should be ROCKIN’ this one…

This technology has the potential to make leaps and bounds in education, ADD, autism, post-traumatic-stress-disorder, brain injury, Cerebral Palsy, and even Parkinson’s Disease.  One San Jose-based company working with such prestigious universities as Brown and Korea University is Neurosky.

Check out their Jedi Training Tower and company schpiel below to get caught up!

Grounded in Medical Research

The last century of neuroscience research greatly increased our medical understanding about the brain and the rich energy it emits. Brainwave patterns of varying frequencies combine to form electrical signals detectable on the scalp. Measuring this has historically required complex, intimidating and immovable equipment costing thousands of dollars, limiting the benefits to the medical research community.

For a broad market, NeuroSky ThinkGear technology senses analog electrical brainwaves and processes them into digital signals to make measurements available to power the user-interface of games, computers and medical applications. NeuroSky has worked within this academic trove of research and pioneered technology for broad use in consumer products, educational electronics and medical devices. The next century will be characterized by a much deeper understanding of the brain. Technologies from NeuroSky will be instrumental in the effort to harness, maintain and heal this most vital of human organs.

Brainwaves, Not Thoughts

Our stainless alloy sensor monitors neural signals, inputting them into our ThinkGear ASIC chip, which processes the signal. A monumental hurdle lies in distinguishing brain signal from the noise that comes from ambient environment, muscle movement, chewing, etc. Such noise interferences are digitally filtered out and eliminated. Raw brain signals are amplified and processed by algorithms—delivering concise input to the device with which the user is interfacing. Algorithms come from both NeuroSky as well as research institutions and universities, and are grounded in decades of clinical research. They currently include “attention”, “meditation,” and physical eyeblinks. Many new algorithms are in development with partners. NeuroSky technology accurately measures mental state brainwaves today, but is busy in labs throughout the world advancing development in new areas of emotional EEG, EMG (muscle movement), EOG (optical movement) and ECG (cardiac behavior).

MindSet for Developers and Consumers

The NeuroSky MindSet headset is our first manifestation available for the consumer market. As a turnkey consumer or research acquisition tool, it measures electrical impulses generated by mental activity, and uses proprietary algorithms to calculate the observed types of brain behavior. For consumer games and education, The MindSet makes calculated brainwave levels and interpreted mental states (currently “attention” and “meditation”) available as digital input for computers, software, and devices. There are currently over a dozen games and educational applications available for download. For sophisticated developers, raw unfiltered brainwave measurements are available through use of our SDK. Data is fed to the computer via wireless Bluetooth.

Developers Meet Developers Meet Consumers

Our open platform is a marketplace gathering of early adopters of all walks. From visionary game developers to university algorithm mathematicians to medical research scientists; everyone will find a buyer in the BCI value chain. Consumer traffic to the Neurosky.com site is the point of monetization for many developers, although many business models and distribution channels exist through distributors and retailers worldwide.

Our technology principles:

1) Easy to use

2) Non-invasive

3) Single-Dry sensor

4) Untethered Mobility

5) Access to both raw data or algorithmically optimzed data.

6) Open platform for any industry

We pride ourselves on pioneering mass-market, Brain Computer Interface technology (BCI) that is user-friendly and cost effective. In addition to the current applications using BCI, including toys made by Mattel and Uncle Milton, we actively support opportunities for broader and more socially beneficial applications of our technology. We are honored to be working with the world’s leading brands, universities and minds in ADD, autism, post-traumatic-stress-disorder, brain injury, Cerebral Palsy, Parkinson’s Disease, and many others.

MindSet is Only the Beginning

The value created by NeuroSky comes from expertise in the melding of science and technology with our creative vision, which is driven by a simple mantra; “what if?” We are experts in the field of Brain-Computer Interface and the first solution that brings the power of the mind to consumers, in ways that have only been dreamed of…until now.

Our ASIC is a programmable chip that can integrate into any BCI form factor, combined for a multi-sensor solution, with an option to hard code to protect your IP. The MindSet is a brainwave interface headset with medical-grade data acquisition for research or consumer use. It leverages Bluetooth for ultimate mobility and includes both audio and voice support in addition to core BCI capabilities.