Having a Big Brain Doesn’t Make You Smarter, Scientists Say

posted: 10/15/15
by: Discovery.com Staff
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Size doesn't matter -- at least as far as intelligence is concerned -- according to an international team of researchers.

Since the 19th century, scientists have attempted to link larger brain sizes with higher intelligence. In a newly released study, however, psychologists examined more than 8,000 patients, ultimately determining that there is no significant relationship between brain volume and intelligence.

The research time cites global IQ tests as debunking any perceived relationship between size and intelligence. Despite a wide acknowledgment that males' brains are typically larger than females', global IQ testing shows parity between genders.


Furthermore, the 2% of the population that suffers from megalencephaly (a disorder that results in abnormal brain growth) tends to score lower on IQ tests than non-sufferers.

"The presently observed association means that brain volume plays only a minor role in explaining IQ test performance in humans. Although a certain association is observable, brain volume appears to be of only little practical relevance," Jakob Pietschnig from the University of Vienna explains in a news release.

A stronger relationship, however, was identified between brain structure and intelligence.

"Brain structure and integrity appear to be more important as a biological foundation of IQ, whilst brain size works as one of many compensatory mechanisms of cognitive functions," Pietschnig adds.


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