Relationships between IQ and regional cortical gray matter thickness in healthy adults

Katherine L. Narr, Roger P. Woods, Paul M. Thompson, Philip Szeszko, Delbert Robinson, Teodora Dimtcheva, Mala Gurbani, Arthur W. Toga, Robert M. Bilder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

280 Scopus citations

Abstract

Prior studies show positive correlations between full-scale intelligence quotient (FSIQ) and cerebral gray matter measures. Few imaging studies have addressed whether general intelligence is related to regional variations in brain tissue and the associated influences of sex. Cortical thickness may more closely reflect cytoarchitectural characteristics than gray matter density or volume estimates. To identify possible localized relationships, we examined FSIQ associations with cortical thickness at high spatial resolution across the cortex in healthy young adult (age 17-44 years) men (n = 30) and women (n = 35). Positive relationships were found between FSIQ and intracranial gray and white matter but not cerebrospinal fluid volumes. Significant associations with cortical thickness were evident bilaterally in prefrontal (Brodmann's areas [BAs] 10/11, 47) and posterior temporal cortices (BA 36/37) and proximal regions. Sex influenced regional relationships; women showed correlations in prefrontal and temporal association cortices, whereas men exhibited correlations primarily in temporal-occipital association cortices. In healthy adults, greater intelligence is associated with larger intracranial gray matter and to a lesser extent with white matter. Variations in prefrontal and posterior temporal cortical thickness are particularly linked with intellectual ability. Sex moderates regional relationships that may index dimorphisms in cognitive abilities, overall processing strategies, or differences in structural organization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2163-2171
Number of pages9
JournalCerebral Cortex
Volume17
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2007
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Cerebral cortex
  • Cognition
  • Frontal
  • Intelligence
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Sex

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