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This handbook introduces the reader to the thought-provoking research on the neural foundations of human intelligence. Written for undergraduate or graduate students, practitioners, and researchers in psychology, cognitive neuroscience, and related fields, the chapters summarize research emerging from the rapidly developing neuroscience literature on human intelligence. The volume focusses on theoretical innovation and recent advances in the measurement, modelling, and characterization of the neurobiology of intelligence differences, especially from brain imaging studies. It summarizes fundamental issues in the characterization and measurement of general intelligence, and surveys multidisciplinary research consortia and large-scale data repositories for the study of general intelligence. A systematic review of neuroimaging methods for studying intelligence is provided, including structural and diffusion-weighted MRI techniques, functional MRI methods, and spectroscopic imaging of metabolic markers of intelligence.
Genetic studies provide a compelling story of gene influences on intelligence, and neuroimaging studies provide insights about relevant brain structure and function. Polygenetic scores based on DNA and brain connectivity patterns based on neuroimaging are beginning to show correlations with individual differences in intelligence. Imaging studies also provide insights on specific brain networks related to intelligence, especially the PFIT model. The concept of brain efficiency is now being explored at the network and the dendrite levels. As we push inexorably deeper into the brain from cortex to neurons to synapses, we are at the threshold of developing a molecular biology of intelligence based both on gene expression related to brain development and function, and on the cascades of neurobiological events at the neuron and synapse levels. As prediction advances and the biological mechanisms underlying intelligence are identified, a major step will be manipulation of those mechanisms to enhance intelligence. That is why the study of intelligence has never been more exciting or important.
This book introduces new and provocative neuroscience research that advances our understanding of intelligence and the brain. Compelling evidence shows that genetics plays a more important role than environment as intelligence develops from childhood, and that intelligence test scores correspond strongly to specific features of the brain assessed with neuroimaging. In understandable language, Richard J. Haier explains cutting-edge techniques based on genetics, DNA, and imaging of brain connectivity and function. He dispels common misconceptions, such as the belief that IQ tests are biased or meaningless, and debunks simple interventions alleged to increase intelligence. Readers will learn about the real possibility of dramatically enhancing intelligence based on neuroscience findings and the positive implications this could have for education and social policy. The text also explores potential controversies surrounding neuro-poverty, neuro-socioeconomic status, and the morality of enhancing intelligence for everyone. Online resources, including additional visuals, animations, questions and links, reinforce the material.