A smarter brain is associated with stronger neural interaction in healthy young females: A resting EEG coherence study

Tien Wen Lee, Yu Te Wu, Younger W.Y. Yu, Hung Chi Wu, Tai Jui Chen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations

Abstract

General intelligence, the g factor, is a major issue in psychology and neuroscience. However, the neural mechanism of the g factor is still not clear. It is suggested that the g factor should be non-modular (a property across the brain) and show good colinearity with various cognitive tests. This study examines the hypothesis that functional connectivity may be a good candidate for the g factor. We recorded resting state eyes-closed EEG signals in 184 healthy young females. Coherence values of 38 selected channel pairs across delta, theta, alpha, beta and gamma frequencies were correlated with six intelligence quotient (IQ) subtests, including symbol search, block design, object assembly, digit span, similarity and arithmetic. A three-stage analytic flow was constructed to delineate common (g factor) and unique neural components of intelligence. It is noticed that the coherence pattern demonstrates good correlation with five of the IQ subtests (except symbol search) and non-modularity in the brain. Our commonality analyses support connectivity strength in the brain as a good indicator of the g factor. For the digit span and arithmetic tests, the uniqueness analyses provide left-lateralized topography relevant to the operation of working memory. Performance on the arithmetic test is further correlated with strengths at left temporo-parietal and bilateral temporal connections. All the significant correlations are positive, indicating that the stronger the connectivity strengths, the higher the intelligence. Our analyses conclude that a smarter brain is associated with stronger interaction in the central nervous system. The implication and why the symbol search does not show parallel results are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)38-48
Number of pages11
JournalIntelligence
Volume40
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2012

Keywords

  • Coherence
  • Commonality
  • Electroencephalography (EEG)
  • Intelligence
  • Uniqueness

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