Understanding the Brain Behind General Intelligence

by Savitha C Muppala on  February 24, 2010 at 10:21 PM Research News   - G J E 4
 Understanding the Brain Behind General Intelligence
The brain structures that affect general intelligence have been mapped by researchers.

A collaborative team of neuroscientists at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), the University of Iowa, the University of Southern California (USC), and the Autonomous University of Madrid made the discovery.

The study, published in the early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, included Jan Gl?scher, first author on the paper and a postdoctoral fellow at Caltech, and Ralph Adolphs, the Bren Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience and professor of biology.

The Caltech scientists teamed up with researchers at the University of Iowa and USC to examine a uniquely large data set of 241 brain-lesion patients who all had taken IQ tests. The researchers mapped the location of each patient's lesion in their brains, and correlated that with each patient's IQ score to produce a map of the brain regions that influence intelligence.

"General intelligence, often referred to as Spearman's g-factor, has been a highly contentious concept," says Adolphs. "But the basic idea underlying it is undisputed: on average, people's scores across many different kinds of tests are correlated. Some people just get generally high scores, whereas others get generally low scores. So it is an obvious next question to ask whether such a general ability might depend on specific brain regions."

The researchers found that, rather than residing in a single structure, general intelligence is determined by a network of regions across both sides of the brain.

"One of the main findings that really struck us was that there was a distributed system here. Several brain regions, and the connections between them, were what was most important to general intelligence," explains Gl?scher.

"It might have turned out that general intelligence doesn't depend on specific brain areas at all, and just has to do with how the whole brain functions," adds Adolphs. "But that's not what we found. In fact, the particular regions and connections we found are quite in line with an existing theory about intelligence called the 'parieto-frontal integration theory.' It says that general intelligence depends on the brain's ability to integrate-to pull together-several different kinds of processing, such as working memory."

The researchers say the findings will open the door to further investigations about how the brain, intelligence, and environment all interact. (ANI)

Source: ANI

Post your Comments

Comments should be on the topic and should not be abusive. The editorial team reserves the right to review and moderate the comments posted on the site.
User Avatar
* Your comment can be maximum of 2500 characters
Notify me when reply is posted I agree to the terms and conditions

You May Also Like

View All