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Brain. 2012 Apr;135(Pt 4):1154-64. doi: 10.1093/brain/aws021. Epub 2012 Mar 6.

An integrative architecture for general intelligence and executive function revealed by lesion mapping.

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  • 1Decision Neuroscience Laboratory, University of Illinois, Champaign, IL 61820, USA.


Although cognitive neuroscience has made remarkable progress in understanding the involvement of the prefrontal cortex in executive control, the broader functional networks that support high-level cognition and give rise to general intelligence remain to be well characterized. Here, we investigated the neural substrates of the general factor of intelligence (g) and executive function in 182 patients with focal brain damage using voxel-based lesion-symptom mapping. The Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale and Delis-Kaplan Executive Function System were used to derive measures of g and executive function, respectively. Impaired performance on these measures was associated with damage to a distributed network of left lateralized brain areas, including regions of frontal and parietal cortex and white matter association tracts, which bind these areas into a coordinated system. The observed findings support an integrative framework for understanding the architecture of general intelligence and executive function, supporting their reliance upon a shared fronto-parietal network for the integration and control of cognitive representations and making specific recommendations for the application of the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale and Delis-Kaplan Executive Function System to the study of high-level cognition in health and disease.

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