Correlations between nonverbal intelligence and nerve conduction velocities in right-handed male and female subjects

Int J Neurosci. 2005 May;115(5):613-23. doi: 10.1080/00207450590523927.


A neurological theory of intelligence suggesting a direct correlation between nerve conduction velocity and psychometric intelligence was tested. Cattell's Culture Fair Intelligence Test was used to asses the nonverbal intelligence (IQ) of subjects. The motor median nerve conduction velocity from right hand of males was positively correlated with IQ. In subjects with no familial sinistrality (FS-), the motor ulnar-nerve conduction velocity from the right and left hands of males negatively correlated with IQ; there were inverse correlations between IQ and nerve conduction velocity (motor median nerve from right, sensory median nerve from right and left) in females. In subjects with familial sinistrality (FS+), IQ directly correlated with nerve conduction velocity from motor median (right and left), sensory median (right), and motor ulnar (right) nerves, but only in males. The speed hypothesis and neurological theory of intelligence were not supported by these results, which, in contrast, emphasized the importance of sex and familial sinistrality in any theory of intelligence.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Estrogens / blood
  • Evoked Potentials, Somatosensory / physiology
  • Female
  • Functional Laterality*
  • Humans
  • Intelligence Tests
  • Intelligence*
  • Male
  • Median Nerve / physiology*
  • Neural Conduction / physiology*
  • Nonverbal Communication*
  • Sex Factors
  • Testosterone / blood
  • Ulnar Nerve / physiology*


  • Estrogens
  • Testosterone