Connectome-based predictive modeling of fluid intelligence: evidence for a global system of functionally integrated brain networks

Ramsey R Wilcox, Aron K Barbey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cognitive neuroscience continues to advance our understanding of the neural foundations of human intelligence, with significant progress elucidating the role of the frontoparietal network in cognitive control mechanisms for flexible, intelligent behavior. Recent evidence in network neuroscience further suggests that this finding may represent the tip of the iceberg and that fluid intelligence may depend on the collective interaction of multiple brain networks. However, the global brain mechanisms underlying fluid intelligence and the nature of multi-network interactions remain to be well established. We therefore conducted a large-scale Connectome-based Predictive Modeling study, administering resting-state fMRI to 159 healthy college students and examining the contributions of seven intrinsic connectivity networks to the prediction of fluid intelligence, as measured by a state-of-the-art cognitive task (the Bochum Matrices Test). Specifically, we aimed to: (i) identify whether fluid intelligence relies on a primary brain network or instead engages multiple brain networks; and (ii) elucidate the nature of brain network interactions by assessing network allegiance (within- versus between-network connections) and network topology (strong versus weak connections) in the prediction of fluid intelligence. Our results demonstrate that whole-brain predictive models account for a large and significant proportion of variance in fluid intelligence (18%) and illustrate that the contribution of individual networks is relatively modest by comparison. In addition, we provide novel evidence that the global architecture of fluid intelligence prioritizes between-network connections and flexibility through weak ties. Our findings support a network neuroscience approach to understanding the collective role of brain networks in fluid intelligence and elucidate the system-wide network mechanisms from which flexible, adaptive behavior is constructed.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberbhad284
Pages (from-to)10322-10331
Number of pages10
JournalCerebral Cortex
Issue number19
Early online dateJul 31 2023
StatePublished - Oct 1 2023


  • computational cognitive
  • connectome-based predictive modeling
  • fluid intelligence
  • human intelligence
  • network neuroscience theory
  • neuroscience

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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