The neural basis of intelligence in fine-grained cortical topographies

  1. Ma Feilong
  2. J Swaroop Guntupalli
  3. James V Haxby  Is a corresponding author
  1. Dartmouth College, United States

Abstract

Intelligent thought is the product of efficient neural information processing, which is embedded in fine-grained, topographically-organized population responses and supported by fine-grained patterns of connectivity among cortical fields. Previous work on the neural basis of intelligence, however, has focused on coarse-grained features of brain anatomy and function, because cortical topographies are highly idiosyncratic at a finer scale, obscuring individual differences in fine-grained connectivity patterns. We used a computational algorithm, hyperalignment, to resolve these topographic idiosyncrasies, and found that predictions of general intelligence based on fine-grained (vertex-by-vertex) connectivity patterns were markedly stronger than predictions based on coarse-grained (region-by-region) patterns. Intelligence was best predicted by fine-grained connectivity in the default and frontoparietal cortical systems, both of which are associated with self-generated thought. Previous work overlooked fine-grained architecture because existing methods couldn't resolve idiosyncratic topographies, preventing investigation where the keys to the neural basis of intelligence are more likely to be found.

Data availability

Data used in the preparation of this work were obtained from the MGH-USC Human Connectome Project (HCP) database (https://ida.loni.usc.edu/login.jsp). The HCP project (Principal Investigators : Bruce Rosen, M.D., Ph.D., Martinos Center at Massachusetts General Hospital; Arthur W. Toga, Ph.D., University of Southern California, Van J. Weeden, MD, Martinos Center at Massachusetts General Hospital) is supported by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR), the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). Collectively, the HCP is the result of efforts of co-investigators from the University of Southern California, Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), Washington University, and the University of Minnesota.

The following previously published data sets were used

Article and author information

Author details

  1. Ma Feilong

    Psychological and Brain Sciences, Dartmouth College, Hanover, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0002-6838-3971
  2. J Swaroop Guntupalli

    Psychological and Brain Sciences, Dartmouth College, Hanover, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0002-0677-5590
  3. James V Haxby

    Psychological and Brain Sciences, Dartmouth College, Hanover, United States
    For correspondence
    james.v.haxby@dartmouth.edu
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0002-6558-3118

Funding

National Science Foundation (1607845)

  • James V Haxby

National Science Foundation (1835200)

  • James V Haxby

The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.

Ethics

Human subjects: Human research participants in the Human Connectome Project gave written informed consent for their participation in accordance with guidelines at participating institutions.

Reviewing Editor

  1. Thomas Yeo, National University of Singapore, Singapore

Publication history

  1. Received: October 15, 2020
  2. Accepted: March 5, 2021
  3. Accepted Manuscript published: March 8, 2021 (version 1)
  4. Version of Record published: March 25, 2021 (version 2)

Copyright

© 2021, Feilong et al.

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.

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  1. Ma Feilong
  2. J Swaroop Guntupalli
  3. James V Haxby
(2021)
The neural basis of intelligence in fine-grained cortical topographies
eLife 10:e64058.
https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.64058

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