A recent study has revealed that the more intelligent a person is, the fewer connections there are between the neurons in his or her cerebral cortex. This is the outcome of a study conducted by neuroscientists who are working with Christoph Fraenz and Dr Erhan Genç at Ruhr-Universität Bochum; the research was performed by making use of a specific neuroimaging technique that offers insights into the wiring of the brain on a microstructural level.
Intelligent Brains can Give High Mental Performance at Low Neuronal Activity
Together with colleagues from the Humboldt University of Berlin, University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, and the Lovelace Biomedical and Environmental Research Institute in Albuquerque, the team from the biopsychology research unit in Bochum has published their report on the journal Nature Communications in May.
The researchers have analyzed the brains of 259 women and men by making use of density imaging and neurite orientation dispersion. This method has enabled them to make measurement about the amount of dendrites in the cerebral cortex, i.e. extensions of nerve cells that are put to use by the cells in a bid to communicate with each other. In addition to that, all the participants were made to complete an IQ test. Subsequently, the researchers associated the data gathered so far with each other and discovered that the more intelligent a person is, the fewer dendrites he or she has in his or her cerebral cortex.
Making use of an independent, publicly accessible database that had been compiled for the purpose of Human Connectome Project, the team has confirmed these findings in a second sample of around 500 individuals.
Dr. Erhan Genç concludes that intelligent brains come with lean, yet efficient neuronal connections and thus, they boast of high mental performance even at low neuronal activity.