06 January 2010

Measuring IQ Objectively: Brain Scans +

Psychometricians have developed paper-and-pencil tests of general intelligence that tend to predict performance on a wide range of other tests and a number of life outcomes, like salary. Neuroscientists have used modern imaging methods to discover the neural correlates of intelligence as measured by these widely used tests. Many of these studies have examined the relations of IQ to brain anatomy, generally finding that greater grey matter volume or thickness across many brain regions correlates with higher IQ scores. Others have looked at functional measures taken while people perform tasks, generally finding that bilateral frontal and parietal regions are most often associated with performance on intelligence tests.

But now, for the first time, functional measures of the resting brain are providing new insights into network properties of the brain that are associated with IQ scores. In essence, they suggest that in smart people, distant areas of the brain communicate with each other more robustly than in less smart people. _SciAm
Scientists are discovering new ways of objective measurement of brain intelligence, using brain scanners. These new methods bypass all possible cultural and language biases, and correlate well with IQ tests, which in turn correlate well with life accomplishments. And now, researchers can even measure brain intelligence while a person's mind is resting.
In a recent paper, researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, led by Ming Song, examined how resting brain networks differ between people who have superior versus average IQ scores. They used graph theory to quantify the network properties of the brain, such as how strong the communication is among distant brain regions. A graph is a mathematical representation that is composed of nodes (or brain regions) and connections between them (functional connectivity or temporal correlations), and can be used to characterize neural networks. Like prior researchers, they found that the posterior cingulate cortex is the hub of the human brain – it is the most widely and intensively connected region of the human brain at rest. Moreover, the strength of connectivity among distant brain regions was greater in people with superior than average IQ scores. Another 2009 study came to a similar conclusion, and noted that the strongest relations between resting connectivity and IQ were observed in the frontal and parietal brain regions, which have been most associated with performance on IQ tests.

Thus, remarkably, the strength of long-distance connections in the resting brain can be related to performance on IQ tests. We are often impressed when people make creative connections between ideas – perhaps long-range connectivity in the brain empowers such mental range. _SciAm

The denial of the importance of IQ is an important pillar of modern leftist egalitarian thought.   But if brain intelligence can be measured independently of IQ tests, and correlated with IQ tests plus life accomplishment, there can be little doubt in the minds of honest persons that the egalitarian redistributionist paradigm is invalid.  Such proof would come none too soon, since it is egalitarian redistrubutionist policies that have come close to destroying the developed world's economies.

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