Positive Correlations Between Corpus Callosum Thickness and Intelligence

Neuroimage. 2007 Oct 1;37(4):1457-64. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2007.06.028. Epub 2007 Jul 12.


Callosal morphology is thought to reflect the capacity for inter-hemispheric communication and thus, in addition to other cerebral characteristics, may serve as a neuroanatomical substrate of general intellectual capacity. We applied novel computational mesh-based methods to establish the presence and direction of correlations between intelligence and callosal thickness at high spatial resolution while removing the variance associated with overall brain size. Within healthy subjects (n=62), and within males (n=28) and females (n=34) separately, we observed significant positive correlations between callosal morphology and intelligence measures (full-scale, performance, and verbal). These relationships were pronounced in posterior callosal sections and were confirmed by permutation testing. Significant negative correlations were absent. Positive associations between intelligence and posterior callosal thickness may reflect a more efficient inter-hemispheric information transfer, positively affecting information processing and integration, and thus intellectual performance. At the same time, regional variations in callosal size might also partly reflect the underlying architecture of topographically connected cortical regions relevant for processing higher-order cognitive information. Our findings emphasize the importance of incorporating posterior (callosal) regions into the theories and models proposed to explain the anatomical substrates of intelligence.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain / anatomy & histology
  • Brain / physiology
  • Corpus Callosum / anatomy & histology*
  • Corpus Callosum / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Intelligence / physiology*
  • Intelligence Tests
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Mental Processes / physiology
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology
  • Sex Characteristics
  • Verbal Behavior