An international team of scientists have published a study in the journal Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews suggesting that the size of the brain does not have direct bearing on the level of intelligence; meaning that the brain volume of any human being does not guarantee higher IQs.
The team of researchers was led by Jakob Pietschnig, Michael Zeiler, and Martin Voracek – all from the Faculty of Psychology in the University of Vienna. They were joined for the study by Lars Penke from the University of Göttingen and Jelte Wicherts from Tilburg University; they conducted a meta-analysis of the relationship that exists between in-vivo brain volume and IQ.
About 8,000 people were recruited for the study, but data from 148 participants showed there is actually a link between brain size and level of intelligence, but the link is weak and not so pronounced. The age and sex of the participants have not impacted the results of the study.
According to Pietschnig, "The presently observed association means that brain volume plays only a minor role in explaining IQ test performance in humans. Although a certain association is observable, brain volume appears to be of only little practical relevance. Rather, brain structure and integrity appear to be more important as a biological foundation of IQ, whilst brain size works as one of many compensatory mechanisms of cognitive functions."
Friedrich Tiedemann, a German physiologist and anatomist in a 1836 piece published in the journal Philosophical Transactions noted that "there is undoubtedly a connection between the absolute size of the brain and the intellectual powers and functions of the mind."
But then the relative structure of the brain and the volume of the organ become important when evaluating level of intelligence between different species. This assertion cuts across animals or sea creatures alike, but never so true with human beings.
For instance, men typically have larger brain size than women, but that does not translate to higher intelligence performance than the womenfolk; and then, individuals suffering from megalencephaly syndrome or enlarged brain volume also suffer from lower IQ than others.
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"Therefore, structural aspects appear to be more important for cognitive performance within humans as well," said Jakob Pietschnig from the Institute of Applied Psychology of the University of Vienna