Becker Friedman Institute

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The neuroscience of human intelligence differences

Neuroscience is contributing to an understanding of the biological bases of human intelligence differences. This work is principally being conducted along two empirical fronts: genetics — quantitative and molecular — and brain imaging. Quantitative genetic studies have established that there are additive genetic contributions to different aspects of cognitive ability — especially general intelligence — and how they change through the lifespan. Molecular genetic studies have yet to identify reliably reproducible contributions from individual genes. Structural and functional brain-imaging studies have identified differences in brain pathways, especially parieto-frontal pathways, that contribute to intelligence differences. There is also evidence that brain efficiency correlates positively with intelligence.

Authors: 
Ian Deary, The University of Edinburgh
Lars Penke
Wendy Johnson, University of Edinburgh
Publication Date: 
March, 2010
HCEO Working Groups: 
Publication Type: 
Journal: 
Nature Reviews Neuroscience
Volume: 
11
Pages: 
201-211
Document Number: 
R0008