Verbal and non-verbal intelligence changes in the teenage brain

Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging, University College London, London WC1N 3BG, UK.
Nature (Impact Factor: 41.46). 11/2011; 479(7371):113-6. DOI: 10.1038/nature10514
Source: PubMed


Intelligence quotient (IQ) is a standardized measure of human intellectual capacity that takes into account a wide range of cognitive skills. IQ is generally considered to be stable across the lifespan, with scores at one time point used to predict educational achievement and employment prospects in later years. Neuroimaging allows us to test whether unexpected longitudinal fluctuations in measured IQ are related to brain development. Here we show that verbal and non-verbal IQ can rise or fall in the teenage years, with these changes in performance validated by their close correlation with changes in local brain structure. A combination of structural and functional imaging showed that verbal IQ changed with grey matter in a region that was activated by speech, whereas non-verbal IQ changed with grey matter in a region that was activated by finger movements. By using longitudinal assessments of the same individuals, we obviated the many sources of variation in brain structure that confound cross-sectional studies. This allowed us to dissociate neural markers for the two types of IQ and to show that general verbal and non-verbal abilities are closely linked to the sensorimotor skills involved in learning. More generally, our results emphasize the possibility that an individual's intellectual capacity relative to their peers can decrease or increase in the teenage years. This would be encouraging to those whose intellectual potential may improve, and would be a warning that early achievers may not maintain their potential.

Download full-text


Available from: Clare Shakeshaft, Apr 28, 2014
    • "Developmental changes in MEG activation, such as increasing lateralization with age, have also been reported (Ressel, Wilke, Lidzba, Lutzenberger, & Krägeloh-Mann, 2008). Moreover , fluctuations in verbal intelligence during adolescence have been linked to regional gray matter changes in motor speech areas, but not brain regions unrelated to language (Ramsden et al., 2011). The current findings uniquely extend beyond the extant literature by providing the first evidence that neurophysiological network synchronization during expressive language processing changes throughout childhood and adolescence and that task-dependent network synchronization is associated with individual differences in verbal abilities. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Synchronization of oscillations among brain areas is understood to mediate network communication supporting cognition, perception, and language. How task-dependent synchronization during word production develops throughout childhood and adolescence, as well as how such network coherence is related to the development of language abilities, remains poorly understood. To address this, we recorded magnetoencephalography while 73 participants aged 4-18 years performed a verb generation task. Atlas-guided source reconstruction was performed, and phase synchronization among regions was calculated. Task-dependent increases in synchronization were observed in the theta, alpha, and beta frequency ranges, and network synchronization differences were observed between age groups. Task-dependent synchronization was strongest in the theta band, as were differences between age groups. Network topologies were calculated for brain regions associated with verb generation and were significantly associated with both age and language abilities. These findings establish the maturational trajectory of network synchronization underlying expressive language abilities throughout childhood and adolescence and provide the first evidence for an association between large-scale neurophysiological network synchronization and individual differences in the development of language abilities.
    No preview · Article · Sep 2015 · Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Source
    • "Interestingly, relatives in this sample had significantly greater education level and verbal abilities than patients. Intelligence and education are associated with gray matter structure and function and changes over development [Reiss et al., 1996; Ramsden et al., 2011; van den Bos et al., 2012; Xie et al., 2012] "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Schizophrenia is associated with abnormalities in cortical thickness, including both thicker and thinner cortices than controls. Although less reliably than in patients, non-psychotic relatives of schizophrenia patients have also demonstrated both thicker and thinner cortices than controls, suggesting an effect of familial or genetic liability. We investigated cortical thickness in 25 schizophrenia patients, 26 adult non-psychotic first-degree biological relatives, and 23 community controls using the automated program FreeSurfer. Contrary to hypotheses, we found relatives of schizophrenia patients had greater cortical thickness in all lobes compared to patients and controls; however, this finding was not as widespread when compared to controls. In contrast, schizophrenia patients only demonstrated a thinner right fusiform region than controls and relatives. Our finding of greater thickness in adult biological relatives could represent a maladaptive abnormality or alternatively, a compensatory mechanism. Previous literature suggests that the nature of abnormalities in relatives can vary by the age of relatives and change across the developmental period. Abnormalities in patients may depend on lifestyle factors and on current and previous anti-psychotic medication use. Our results speak to the need to study various populations of patients and relatives across the lifespan to better understand different developmental periods and the impact of environmental factors. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2015 · American Journal of Medical Genetics Part B Neuropsychiatric Genetics
  • Source
    • "Intellectual deficits are reported to occur in 30–50% of cases (Chakrabarti & Fombonne, 2005; CDC, 2014), but characterization of intellectual disability in ASD and cross-study comparisons are complicated by sample heterogeneity and different conceptualizations/measures of ''intelligence.'' Moreover, despite the assumption that intelligence/IQ is stable, strong evidence of variability over time exists, even into adolescence, in typical development (Ramsden et al., 2011). The issue of IQ stability may be particularly relevant to special populations, such as those with low intellectual functioning (Whitaker & Taylor, 2008), dyslexia (Ingesson, 2006), low birth weight (Mortensen, Andressen, Krusse, & Sanders, 2003), or ASD, in which variability is a particular consideration under age three (Lord & Schopler, 1989a, 1989b). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This paper examined early developmental trajectories in a large, longitudinal sample at high-risk for ASD (‘HR’) and low-risk (‘LR’) controls, and the association of trajectories with 3-year diagnosis. Developmental assessments were conducted at 6, 12, 24 months, and 3 years, with blinded “clinical best-estimate” expert diagnosis at age 3. HR infants were enrolled based only on familial risk. LR infants, from community sources, had no first- or second-degree ASD relatives. All infants were born at 36–42 weeks, weighing ≥2500 g, with no identifiable neurological, genetic, or severe sensory/motor disorders. Analytic phase I: semi-parametric group-based modeling to identify distinct developmental trajectories (n = 680; 487 HR; 193 LR); phase II: Trajectory membership in relation to 3-year diagnosis (n = 424; 310 HR; 114 LR). Three distinct trajectories emerged (1) inclining; (2) stable-average; (3) declining; trajectory membership predicted diagnosis (χ2 = 99.40; p < .001). Most ASD cases were in stable-average (50.6%) or declining trajectories (33.8%); most non-ASD-HR infants were in inclining (51.9%) or stable-average (40.3%) trajectories. The majority of LR controls were in the inclining trajectory (78.9%). Within the declining trajectory, over half had ASD (57.8%), but 40% were non-ASD-HR infants. Declining/plateauing raw scores were associated with, but not exclusive to, ASD. Findings underscore the importance of monitoring the emergence of ASD symptoms and overall development in high-risk children. Evidence of developmental slowing or decline may be associated not only with ASD, but with other suboptimal outcomes, warranting careful clinical follow-up.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2014 · Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders
Show more