Michael A. Woodley of Menie, PhD, Scientist in Residence at the TU Chemnitz, finds for the first time a link between increasing brain size and long-term increase in intelligence quotient
The average mass of the human brain has increased in Germany and the UK during the last century. This has been accompanied by gains in IQ. International scientists led by Michael A. Woodley of Menie, PhD, have now connected the two for the first time. Woodley of Menie is Scientist in Residence at the Technische Universität Chemnitz and Fellow at the Center Leo Apostel for Interdisciplinary Research at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. David Becker, another scientist from the TU Chemnitz, also was involved, as well as researchers from Canada, Brazil, and New Zealand. Their results have been published in the January 2016 edition of the journal "Learning and Individual Differences", which is published by Elsevier.
Michael A. Woodley of Menie, PhD
Photo: Steve Conrad
The psychologists base their statements on secondary analysis of two datasets which represent several studies and give indications of a long-term increase of brain mass in the UK and Germany. The analysis reveals the following: for Great Britain, over a period of 80 years: among men, the mass of the brain increased by 52 grams, among women by 23 grams. In Germany, over a period of 99 years, the increase was 73.16 grams for men, and 52.27 grams for women. Based on this, the researchers led by Woodley of Menie used a method developed by the American psychologist Arthur R. Jensen to estimate IQ gains stemming from increases in brain mass: for men in the UK the increase is 0.19 IQ points per decade, for women it is 0.08 points. In Germany, the result is an increase in IQ of 0.2 points per decade for men and 0.15 points for women.
Afterwards, the scientists set these figures in relation to the estimates of the so-called Flynn effect. "One of the co-authors on the paper is Prof. Dr James Flynn, who was one of the first to detect consistently increasing IQ over time in different populations. This IQ increase was actually called the Flynn Effect in recognition of his discovery," explains Woodley of Menie. The Flynn Effect states that IQ has been steadily increased by an average of three points per decade in Western countries since the beginning of the 20th century. The current study shows that the Flynn effect can be explained in part by the growth of the brain. In Great Britain, where studies show an overall increase in IQ of 1.1 points per decade from 1932 to 2008, the contribution from increasing brain mass amounts to almost 13 percent. In Germany, where a total increase of 6.1 IQ points was found in the period from 1956 to 2008, the percentage contribution is around three percent.
The research results were published in the journal "Learning and Individual Differences": Michael A. Woodley of Menie, Mateo A. Peñaherrera, Heitor BF Fernandes, David Becker, & James R. Flynn (2016): It’s getting bigger all the time: Estimating the Flynn effect from secular brain mass increases in Britain and Germany. Learning and Individual Differences, 45, 95-100. DOI 10.1016 / j.lindif.2015.11.004
Keyword: Scientist in Residence
The "Scientist in Residence" scholarship was established at the TU Chemnitz in April 2015, allowing the university to invite visiting researchers with a worldwide reputation in order to promote academic exchange and maintain international relations. The focus is on the TU Chemnitz’ core competence "humans and technology". Michael A. Woodley of Menie, Fellow at the Center Leo Apostel for Interdisciplinary Research at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, is researching and working for two years at the university in Chemnitz within the scholarship program. Born in England with a degree from the Royal Holloway University of London, he is conducting interdisciplinary research into aspects of human intelligence as well as human capital and thereby focuses on how intelligence influences technological and economic progress.
For further information, contact Michael A. Woodley of Menie, PhD, email email@example.com.
Katharina Thehos | Technische Universität Chemnitz
A new method for the 3-D printing of living tissues
16.08.2017 | University of Oxford
Bergamotene - alluring and lethal for Manduca sexta
21.04.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für chemische Ökologie
Controlling electronic current is essential to modern electronics, as data and signals are transferred by streams of electrons which are controlled at high speed. Demands on transmission speeds are also increasing as technology develops. Scientists from the Chair of Laser Physics and the Chair of Applied Physics at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) have succeeded in switching on a current with a desired direction in graphene using a single laser pulse within a femtosecond ¬¬ – a femtosecond corresponds to the millionth part of a billionth of a second. This is more than a thousand times faster compared to the most efficient transistors today.
Graphene is up to the job
At the productronica trade fair in Munich this November, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be presenting Laser-Based Tape-Automated Bonding, LaserTAB for short. The experts from Aachen will be demonstrating how new battery cells and power electronics can be micro-welded more efficiently and precisely than ever before thanks to new optics and robot support.
Fraunhofer ILT from Aachen relies on a clever combination of robotics and a laser scanner with new optics as well as process monitoring, which it has developed...
Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
A warming planet
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
19.09.2017 | Event News
12.09.2017 | Event News
06.09.2017 | Event News
26.09.2017 | Information Technology
26.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
26.09.2017 | Life Sciences