Neuroscience and intelligence concerns the various neurological factors that may be responsible for the variation of intelligence within a species or between different species. Much of the work in this field is concerned with the variation in human intelligence, but other intelligent species such as the non-human primates, cetaceans and rodents are also of interest. The basic mechanisms by which the brain produces complex phenomena such as consciousness and intelligence are still poorly understood.
The research into the neuroscience of intelligence has involved indirect approaches, such as searching for correlations between psychometric test scores and variables associated with the anatomy and physiology of the brain. Historically, research was conducted on non-human animals or on postmortem brains as well as on skulls (Craniometry). More recent studies have involved non-invasive techniques such as MRI scans as they can be conducted on living subjects. MRI scans can be used to measure the size of various structures within the brain, or they can be used to detect areas of the brain that are active when subjects perform certain mental tasks.
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“Since an intelligence common to us all makes things known to us and formulates them in our minds, honorable actions are ascribed by us to virtue, and dishonorable actions to vice; and only a madman would conclude that these judgments are matters of opinion, and not fixed by nature.”
—Marcus Tullius Cicero (10643 B.C.)