According to a new study, the more intelligent a person is, the less connections there are between neurons in his cerebral cortex.
The more intelligent a person is, the less connections there are between neurons in his cerebral cortex. This is the result of a study by neuroscientists Erhan Genç and Christoph Fraenz. The research was conducted using a specific neuroimaging technique that provides information on the microstructure of the brain. The team of the biopsychology research unit of Bochum published its report in the journal Nature Communications.
The researchers analyzed the brains of 259 men and women. They measured the amount of dendrites present in the cerebral cortex. Dendrites are a part of neurons. They are extensions of the cell body of neurons with which they share the organelles (with the exception of the nucleus and lysosomes).
Composition of a neuron (@ wikipedia comics).
All participants also took an IQ test. By combining the data collected, scientists have discovered that the more intelligent a person is, the fewer dendrites there are in their cerebral cortex. The team confirmed these results on a second sample of about 500 people.
A bigger brain
Recall that it had been previously established that smart people tend to have bigger brains. "It has been assumed that larger brains contain more neurons and, therefore, have more computing power," explains Erhan Genç.
In contrast, other studies have shown that the brains of smart people have less neural activity during an IQ test than the brain of less intelligent individuals. "Smart brains therefore have fewer neuronal connections but they are more efficient," concludes Erhan Genç. "That's why intelligent people have high mental performance with low neuronal activity."