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Study Says IQ Not A Good Indicator Of Intelligence

May 08, 2013 07:07 AM EDT

According to a new study, intelligence quotient or IQ may not be the best way to represent a person's intelligence. The study included 100,000 participants from around the world, who took several tests that measure intellectual capabilities.

The study was conducted by researchers from University of Western Ontario.

"While there are different types of intelligence, they are all influenced by one, overarching, general intelligence. And that's what we essentially measured using something like an IQ test," said Adam Hampshire of the Brain and Mind Institute, who co-authored the paper.

Hampshire said that previously, people believed that a superior intelligence factor was sub-served by a specialized region in the brain. "What we found is that the brain regions associated with whatever the 'G Factor' is - what general intelligence is - actually housed more specialized systems, not just one," he explained.

A group of the study participants were also hooked on to an MRI scanner to see the different cognitive abilities and the corresponding brain circuits.

Researchers found that there are many types of intelligence, and that different brain systems are responsible for these abilities.

Since the study group was so large, researchers got to understand how age, gender and geographical locations affected people's ability to perform in cognitive tests. They found that while older people everywhere suffer from a decrease in memory, some people can improve cognitive skills by playing video games.

A recent study from journal PLOS One had shown that old people can slow down mental decline by playing video games.

"We very often hear these comparisons (of intelligence) and it's a terrible oversimplification. People should be skeptical when they hear these reports of population differences in IQ; it shouldn't be a unitary measure. Examining the social demographic correlations in more detail will help to understand them better," Hampshire said in a news release.

The study, "Fractionating Human Intelligence", is published in the journal Neuron.

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