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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2010 Mar 9;107(10):4705-9. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0910397107. Epub 2010 Feb 22.

Distributed neural system for general intelligence revealed by lesion mapping.

Author information

  • 1Division of Humanities and Social Sciences, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91125, USA. glascher@hss.caltech.edu

Abstract

General intelligence (g) captures the performance variance shared across cognitive tasks and correlates with real-world success. Yet it remains debated whether g reflects the combined performance of brain systems involved in these tasks or draws on specialized systems mediating their interactions. Here we investigated the neural substrates of g in 241 patients with focal brain damage using voxel-based lesion-symptom mapping. A hierarchical factor analysis across multiple cognitive tasks was used to derive a robust measure of g. Statistically significant associations were found between g and damage to a remarkably circumscribed albeit distributed network in frontal and parietal cortex, critically including white matter association tracts and frontopolar cortex. We suggest that general intelligence draws on connections between regions that integrate verbal, visuospatial, working memory, and executive processes.

PMID:
20176936
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2842050
Free PMC Article
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