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Research Highlights

MRI Pictures Can Determine Human Intelligence

  • October 10, 2008
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Biological sciences Professor Kun-ho Lee (picture left) has developed a technique using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to help gauge human intelligence.

He said that the technique uses detailed pictures of the brain to measure specific regions connected with such functions as speech, deduction and calculation.

The report says that people with higher crystallized intelligence, which governs speech and learning, have a thicker temporal pole, while those with good fluid intelligence have a more developed prefrontal lobe and posterior parietal cortex.

Fluid intelligence is related to deductive reasoning, space perception and calculation.

Crystallized intelligence can be compared to a computer's hard disk in that it improves with input, while fluid intelligence functions like a central processing unit (CPU) and is designed to process existing information and data.

"The findings showed that a thicker cerebral cortex is linked to better learning capabilities and memory, while higher fluid intelligence is related to autonomic nervous systems," said Lee.

A full report on the discovery is to be published in the Oct. 8 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience, Lee said. The finding is significant as it provides scientists with a way to estimate human intelligence beyond conventional IQ tests, according to the professor.

"The new approach is not perfect, but it allows scientists to use physical and functional aspects of the brain to help gauge intelligence," he said.

Lee added that if the latest MRI picturing methods can be perfected, it can help determine which learning methods can bring about the best results, and can help educators pick out exceptionally gifted children.

October 7, 2008
SNU PR Office

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