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A neural basis for General Intelligence
DUNCAN, J., Seitz, R.J., Kolodny, J., BOR, D., Herzog, H., Ahmed, A., Newell, F.N. & EMSLIE, H.
Science (21 July 2000), 289 (5478), 457-460
Year of publication:
Universal positive correlations between different cognitive tests motivate the concept of "general intelligence" or Spearman's g. Here the neural basis for g is investigated using positron emission tomography (PET). Spatial, verbal and perceptuo-motor tasks with high g involvement are compared with matched low-g control tasks. In contrast to the common view that g reflects a broad sample of major cognitive functions, high-g tasks do not show diffuse recruitment of multiple brain regions. Instead they are associated with selective recruitment of lateral frontal cortex in one or both hemispheres. Despite very different task content in the three high-low g contrasts, lateral frontal recruitment is strikingly similar in each case. Many previous experiments show these same frontal regions to be recruited by a broad range of different cognitive demands. The results suggest that "general intelligence" derives from a specific frontal system important in the control of diverse forms of behavior.