Monday, January 16, 2023

Brain and fluid intelligence

Cipolotti et al took an interesting approach to looking for locations in the brain on which fluid intelligence relies. Instead of trying a phrenological approach or looking for relatively larger regions in the brain (or relatively more connected), they looked at what happened with brain lesions. They aren't the first, but other studies were smaller. "Patients with non-frontal lesions were indistinguishable from controls and showed no modulation by laterality." But right frontal damage did show an effect: "prominently highlighting a right frontal network involving middle and inferior frontal gyrus, pre- and post-central gyri, with a weak contribution from right superior parietal lobule".

The study had 165 control and 227 injured patients. I'm not familiar with some of the jargon, but assuming the analysis is OK, a couple of things do appear. No brain damage is good for you (surprise), but right frontal is worse. The Raven's Advanced Progressive Matrix score dropped by about a standard deviation--about 25%.

I'd have to dig awhile to figure out what confounding factors there might be (lethality of lesions in other locations?--but the non-frontal part suggests that may not be a big effect), and I have some higher priority projects.

1 comment:

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Can't much help you. In my neuropsych work the damage we were discussing was often in the cingulate gyrus, particularly the story-switching function of the ACG. (Emotional interference depresses functioning and reduces your ability to take new info into account in deciding what reality is doing.) More of the mental-health involvement there. The forebrain in general has lots of the decision-making and memory (though that is crazy weird), but I never much looked into it. You'd think brain regions would be right up my alley, but it never interested.