Biological Model for Intelligence Revealed

NEWS RELEASE

September 11, 2007 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

ALBUQUERQUE, NM - Researchers at the Mind Institute/Mind Research Network (MRN) in Albuquerque, NM, and the University of California at Irvine have devised a testable model of human intelligence comprised of specific gray-matter processing centers and white-matter connections.

In a paper published in the current issue ofBehavioral & Brain Sciences, the Parieto-Frontal Integration Theory, or P-FIT, asserts that there is striking consensus, from some 37 existing neuroimaging studies, outlining a distributed network within the brain that underlies intelligence.

This distributed network integrates specific areas in the brain – including the frontal, parietal, temporal and occipital lobes – that “inform” human intelligence. The “intelligence network” remained consistent throughout the array of studies under review, which assessed brain structure, neurochemistry, white matter microstructure and/or functional activations.

“This is the first testable, physical model of where in the human brain intelligence resides, and what neural factors might result in improved cognitive performance,” says Mind Research Network Investigator and UNM Assistant Professor of Neurology and Psychology, Dr. Rex Jung, lead author of the paper. “Intelligence is not located in one place in the brain, nor is it everywhere in the brain. It spans a very discreet but identifiable network.”

Jung and co-author Dr. Richard Haier, Professor of Psychology at UC Irvine’s School of Medicine, have a combined 30 years of research experience on human intelligence. Haier alone has been studying the brain as it relates to intelligence and higher cognitive functioning for more than 20 years.

Citing dozens of previous intelligence research papers and rich neuroimaging data that include Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI), structural Magnetic Resonance Imaging (sMRI), Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (MRS), Positron Emission Tomography (PET) and functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI), the investigators conclude that there is significant consistency in brain structure and function related to human intelligence.

“We believe that the P-FIT Theory will be an important, testable model designed to advance the study of human intelligence,” Jung adds. “On the other side of the ‘intelligence coin’ is research designed to address the broad cognitive problems associated with diseases such as schizophrenia and dementia. Understanding the biological manifestations of ‘normal’ intelligence provides a basis for better understanding, and perhaps treating, the cognitive manifestations of a wide range of neurological and psychiatric brain disorders.”

The Mind Institute/Mind Research Network is a core of preeminent neuroscience researchers from the U.S. and abroad advancing today’s diagnoses and tomorrow’s treatments for mental illness. The MRN houses fixed and mobile MRI capabilities, as well as magnetoencephalography (MEG) and electroencephalography (EEG) technologies, making it one of the most sophisticated imaging centers in the world.

For more information on the Mind Institute/Mind Research Network, visitwww.MRN.org.

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