Dissociable brain biomarkers of fluid intelligence

Erick J. Paul, Ryan J. Larsen, Aki Nikolaidis, Nathan Ward, Charles H. Hillman, Neal J. Cohen, Arthur F. Kramer, Aron K. Barbey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Cognitive neuroscience has long sought to understand the biological foundations of human intelligence. Decades of research have revealed that general intelligence is correlated with two brain-based biomarkers: the concentration of the brain biochemical N-acetyl aspartate (NAA) measured by proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) and total brain volume measured using structural MR imaging (MRI). However, the relative contribution of these biomarkers in predicting performance on core facets of human intelligence remains to be well characterized. In the present study, we sought to elucidate the role of NAA and brain volume in predicting fluid intelligence (Gf). Three canonical tests of Gf (BOMAT, Number Series, and Letter Sets) and three working memory tasks (Reading, Rotation, and Symmetry span tasks) were administered to a large sample of healthy adults (n = 211). We conducted exploratory factor analysis to investigate the factor structure underlying Gf independent from working memory and observed two Gf components (verbal/spatial and quantitative reasoning) and one working memory component. Our findings revealed a dissociation between two brain biomarkers of Gf (controlling for age and sex): NAA concentration correlated with verbal/spatial reasoning, whereas brain volume correlated with quantitative reasoning and working memory. A follow-up analysis revealed that this pattern of findings is observed for males and females when analyzed separately. Our results provide novel evidence that distinct brain biomarkers are associated with specific facets of human intelligence, demonstrating that NAA and brain volume are independent predictors of verbal/spatial and quantitative facets of Gf.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)201-211
Number of pages11
JournalNeuroImage
Volume137
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 15 2016

Fingerprint

Intelligence
Biomarkers
Brain
Short-Term Memory
Statistical Factor Analysis
Reading
N-acetylaspartate
Research

Keywords

  • Brain volume
  • Fluid intelligence
  • MR spectroscopy
  • N-Acetyl aspartate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience

Cite this

Paul, E. J., Larsen, R. J., Nikolaidis, A., Ward, N., Hillman, C. H., Cohen, N. J., ... Barbey, A. K. (2016). Dissociable brain biomarkers of fluid intelligence. NeuroImage, 137, 201-211. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2016.05.037

Dissociable brain biomarkers of fluid intelligence. / Paul, Erick J.; Larsen, Ryan J.; Nikolaidis, Aki; Ward, Nathan; Hillman, Charles H.; Cohen, Neal J.; Kramer, Arthur F.; Barbey, Aron K.

In: NeuroImage, Vol. 137, 15.08.2016, p. 201-211.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Paul, EJ, Larsen, RJ, Nikolaidis, A, Ward, N, Hillman, CH, Cohen, NJ, Kramer, AF & Barbey, AK 2016, 'Dissociable brain biomarkers of fluid intelligence', NeuroImage, vol. 137, pp. 201-211. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2016.05.037
Paul EJ, Larsen RJ, Nikolaidis A, Ward N, Hillman CH, Cohen NJ et al. Dissociable brain biomarkers of fluid intelligence. NeuroImage. 2016 Aug 15;137:201-211. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2016.05.037
Paul, Erick J. ; Larsen, Ryan J. ; Nikolaidis, Aki ; Ward, Nathan ; Hillman, Charles H. ; Cohen, Neal J. ; Kramer, Arthur F. ; Barbey, Aron K. / Dissociable brain biomarkers of fluid intelligence. In: NeuroImage. 2016 ; Vol. 137. pp. 201-211.
@article{dd65584fe8f34ca9ae163f595d45ddc1,
title = "Dissociable brain biomarkers of fluid intelligence",
abstract = "Cognitive neuroscience has long sought to understand the biological foundations of human intelligence. Decades of research have revealed that general intelligence is correlated with two brain-based biomarkers: the concentration of the brain biochemical N-acetyl aspartate (NAA) measured by proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) and total brain volume measured using structural MR imaging (MRI). However, the relative contribution of these biomarkers in predicting performance on core facets of human intelligence remains to be well characterized. In the present study, we sought to elucidate the role of NAA and brain volume in predicting fluid intelligence (Gf). Three canonical tests of Gf (BOMAT, Number Series, and Letter Sets) and three working memory tasks (Reading, Rotation, and Symmetry span tasks) were administered to a large sample of healthy adults (n = 211). We conducted exploratory factor analysis to investigate the factor structure underlying Gf independent from working memory and observed two Gf components (verbal/spatial and quantitative reasoning) and one working memory component. Our findings revealed a dissociation between two brain biomarkers of Gf (controlling for age and sex): NAA concentration correlated with verbal/spatial reasoning, whereas brain volume correlated with quantitative reasoning and working memory. A follow-up analysis revealed that this pattern of findings is observed for males and females when analyzed separately. Our results provide novel evidence that distinct brain biomarkers are associated with specific facets of human intelligence, demonstrating that NAA and brain volume are independent predictors of verbal/spatial and quantitative facets of Gf.",
keywords = "Brain volume, Fluid intelligence, MR spectroscopy, N-Acetyl aspartate",
author = "Paul, {Erick J.} and Larsen, {Ryan J.} and Aki Nikolaidis and Nathan Ward and Hillman, {Charles H.} and Cohen, {Neal J.} and Kramer, {Arthur F.} and Barbey, {Aron K.}",
year = "2016",
month = "8",
day = "15",
doi = "10.1016/j.neuroimage.2016.05.037",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "137",
pages = "201--211",
journal = "NeuroImage",
issn = "1053-8119",
publisher = "Academic Press Inc.",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Dissociable brain biomarkers of fluid intelligence

AU - Paul, Erick J.

AU - Larsen, Ryan J.

AU - Nikolaidis, Aki

AU - Ward, Nathan

AU - Hillman, Charles H.

AU - Cohen, Neal J.

AU - Kramer, Arthur F.

AU - Barbey, Aron K.

PY - 2016/8/15

Y1 - 2016/8/15

N2 - Cognitive neuroscience has long sought to understand the biological foundations of human intelligence. Decades of research have revealed that general intelligence is correlated with two brain-based biomarkers: the concentration of the brain biochemical N-acetyl aspartate (NAA) measured by proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) and total brain volume measured using structural MR imaging (MRI). However, the relative contribution of these biomarkers in predicting performance on core facets of human intelligence remains to be well characterized. In the present study, we sought to elucidate the role of NAA and brain volume in predicting fluid intelligence (Gf). Three canonical tests of Gf (BOMAT, Number Series, and Letter Sets) and three working memory tasks (Reading, Rotation, and Symmetry span tasks) were administered to a large sample of healthy adults (n = 211). We conducted exploratory factor analysis to investigate the factor structure underlying Gf independent from working memory and observed two Gf components (verbal/spatial and quantitative reasoning) and one working memory component. Our findings revealed a dissociation between two brain biomarkers of Gf (controlling for age and sex): NAA concentration correlated with verbal/spatial reasoning, whereas brain volume correlated with quantitative reasoning and working memory. A follow-up analysis revealed that this pattern of findings is observed for males and females when analyzed separately. Our results provide novel evidence that distinct brain biomarkers are associated with specific facets of human intelligence, demonstrating that NAA and brain volume are independent predictors of verbal/spatial and quantitative facets of Gf.

AB - Cognitive neuroscience has long sought to understand the biological foundations of human intelligence. Decades of research have revealed that general intelligence is correlated with two brain-based biomarkers: the concentration of the brain biochemical N-acetyl aspartate (NAA) measured by proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) and total brain volume measured using structural MR imaging (MRI). However, the relative contribution of these biomarkers in predicting performance on core facets of human intelligence remains to be well characterized. In the present study, we sought to elucidate the role of NAA and brain volume in predicting fluid intelligence (Gf). Three canonical tests of Gf (BOMAT, Number Series, and Letter Sets) and three working memory tasks (Reading, Rotation, and Symmetry span tasks) were administered to a large sample of healthy adults (n = 211). We conducted exploratory factor analysis to investigate the factor structure underlying Gf independent from working memory and observed two Gf components (verbal/spatial and quantitative reasoning) and one working memory component. Our findings revealed a dissociation between two brain biomarkers of Gf (controlling for age and sex): NAA concentration correlated with verbal/spatial reasoning, whereas brain volume correlated with quantitative reasoning and working memory. A follow-up analysis revealed that this pattern of findings is observed for males and females when analyzed separately. Our results provide novel evidence that distinct brain biomarkers are associated with specific facets of human intelligence, demonstrating that NAA and brain volume are independent predictors of verbal/spatial and quantitative facets of Gf.

KW - Brain volume

KW - Fluid intelligence

KW - MR spectroscopy

KW - N-Acetyl aspartate

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84974625465&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84974625465&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2016.05.037

DO - 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2016.05.037

M3 - Article

C2 - 27184204

AN - SCOPUS:84974625465

VL - 137

SP - 201

EP - 211

JO - NeuroImage

JF - NeuroImage

SN - 1053-8119

ER -