What neurons tell us about intelligence

In collaboration with the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, the team of Michele Giugliano - newly established investigator at SISSA - revealed how microscopic anatomical features of human neurons and their electrophysiological characteristics are linked to individual differences in IQ scores.

What neurons tell us about intelligence

An intriguing correlation has been reported between the architecture of individual neurons in the human temporal cortex and the IQ scores, usually associated to intelligence and higher cognitive functions.

A higher IQ score was associated with a thicker temporal cortex, which features pyramidal neurons with longer and more elaborate dendritic networks and that fired faster nerve impulses. On the other hand, lower IQ score was associated with a thinner temporal cortex which contains pyramidal neurons with less complex dendritic networks and that fired slower nerve impulse.

As in an electric filter, human cortical neurons from thicker cortices (i.e. and thus higher IQ) have a broader bandwidth of electrical signal transduction. Below, one of the main results of this studied is exemplified, plotting for several cells the profile of information processing: the higher the cut-off frequency (i.e. the knee of the curves) the faster the information can be relayed downstream by the corresponding neuron.

E Life 2019

Read the full story at: https://elifesciences.org/articles/41714


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