Fluid intelligence loss linked to restricted regions of damage within frontal and parietal cortex

Alexandra Woolgar, Alice Parr, Rhodri Cusack, Russell Thompson, Ian Nimmo-Smith, Teresa Torralva, Maria Roca, Nagui Antoun, Facundo Manes, John Duncan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

120 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Tests of fluid intelligence predict success in awide range of cognitive activities. Much uncertainty has surrounded brain lesions producing deficits in these tests, with standard group comparisons deliveringno clear result. Based on findings from functional imaging, we propose that the uncertainty of lesion datamay arise from the specificity and complexity of the relevant neural circuit. Fluid intelligence tests give a characteristic pattern of activity in posterolateral frontal, dorsomedial frontal, and midparietal cortex. To test the causal role of these regions, we examined fluid intelligence in 80 patients with focal cortical lesions. Damage to each of the proposed regions predicted fluid intelligence loss, whereas damage outside these regions was not predictive. The results suggest that coarse group comparisons (e.g., frontal vs. posterior) cannot show the neural underpinnings of fluid intelligence tests. Instead, deficits reflect the extent of damage to a restricted but complex brain circuit comprising specific regions within both frontal and posterior cortex.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14899-14902
Number of pages4
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume107
Issue number33
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 17 Aug 2010
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Correction can be found in 'Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America', 112(35), p. E4969. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1513862112

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