Very smart children don’t have any more brain matter than children with more-average intellectual abilities do, but their brains develop in different ways, concludes a report published March 30 in the journal Nature.
Researchers from the National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda, Md., and McGill University in Montreal studied brain-scan images for 307 children taken from ages 6 through 17. In the most-intelligent children, the outer layer of the brain known as the cerebral cortex started out thinner and then thickened as the children grew, reaching its thickest point around age 11. In comparison, the cortex started out thicker in the groups of children deemed less intelligent and reached its peak thickness by the time the children were 7 or 8.
Vol. 25, Issue 30, Page 14