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Intelligence (biology)/Bibliography

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A list of key readings about Intelligence (biology).
Please sort and annotate in a user-friendly manner. For formatting, consider using automated reference wikification.
  • Deary IJ. (2001) Intelligence: A Very Short Introduction. New York, Oxford University Press.
  • Fox D. (2011) The Limits of Intelligence. Sci Am 305(1):36-43.
    • "Human intelligence may be close to its evolutionary limit. Various lines of re¬search suggest that most of the tweaks that could make us smarter would hit limits set by the laws of physics. Brain size, for instance, helps up to a point but carries diminishing returns: brains become energy-hungry and slow. Better “wiring” across the brain also would consume energy and take up a disproportionate amount of space. Making wires thinner would hit thermodynamic limitations similar to those that affect transistors in computer chips: communication would get noisy. Humans, however, might still achieve higher intelligence collectively. And technology, from writing to the Inter¬net, enables us to expand our mind outside the confines of our body.
Builds on the expensive tissue hypothesis proposed by Aiello & Wheeler (1995) and provides evidence that the maximum rate of population increase, as defined by Cole (1954), is correlated negatively with brain size in mammals and birds, as long as parental care is not provided (and thus the energetic costs of feeding borne) by the mothers alone. Predicts that such allomaternal care increases the "maximum viable brain size" in a given family and that brain size evolution is strongly coupled to mass extinction events.
Provides data indicating that the level of intelligence during child development correlates more closely with the rate of change of the cortical thickness than with cortical thickness itself.
  • Jung,R.E.; Haier,R.J. (2007) The Parieto-Frontal Integration Theory (P-FIT) of intelligence: converging neuroimaging evidence. Behav.Brain Sci. 30(2):135-154. PMID 17655784. From: Departments of Neurology and Psychology, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87106, USA. rjung@themindinstitute.org.
    • From the Abstract: "Is there a biology of intelligence which is characteristic of the normal human nervous system?" Here we review 37 modern neuroimaging studies in an attempt to address this question...Reviewing studies from functional... and structural...neuroimaging paradigms, we report a striking consensus suggesting that variations in a distributed network predict individual differences found on intelligence and reasoning tasks. We describe this network as the Parieto-Frontal Integration Theory (P-FIT)...The P-FIT is examined in light of findings from human lesion studies...as well as findings from imaging research identifying brain regions under significant genetic control...We propose that the P-FIT provides a parsimonious account for many of the empirical observations, to date, which relate individual differences in intelligence test scores to variations in brain structure and function.
  • Singer E. (2009) Intelligence Explained. Technology Review, November/December, pp. 52-54.
    • Discussion of neuroimaging findings in relation to IQ.
  • Kendra Van Wagner. Theories of intelligence.
    • "While intelligence is one of the most talked about subjects within psychology, there is no standard definition of what exactly constitutes 'intelligence.' Some researchers have suggested that intelligence is a single, general ability, while other believe that intelligence encompasses a range of aptitudes, skills and talents." Brief summaries of some of the major theories of intelligence.


  • Roth G, Dicke U. (2005) Evolution of the brain and intelligence. Trends Cogn Sci 2005;9:250-257.
    • "Intelligence has evolved many times independently among vertebrates. Primates, elephants and cetaceans are assumed to be more intelligent than 'lower' mammals, the great apes and humans more than monkeys, and humans more than the great apes. Brain properties assumed to be relevant for intelligence are the (absolute or relative) size of the brain, cortex, prefrontal cortex and degree of encephalization. However, factors that correlate better with intelligence are the number of cortical neurons and conduction velocity, as the basis for information-processing capacity. Humans have more cortical neurons than other mammals, although only marginally more than whales and elephants. The outstanding intelligence of humans appears to result from a combination and enhancement of properties found in non-human primates, such as theory of mind, imitation and language, rather than from 'unique' properties."