Cortical volume and speed-of-processing are complementary in prediction of performance intelligence

Walhovd KB, Fjell AM, Reinvang I, Lundervold A, Fischl B, Salat D, Quinn BT, Makris N, Dale AM

Neuropsychologia 2005;43(5):704-13

PMID: 15721183


The rationale for the present study was to investigate the relationship between cortical volume, the latency of the ERP component P3a (as a measure of speed-of-processing), and performance intelligence (not adjusted for age differences). Seventy-one participants aged 20-88 years underwent a visual 3-stimuli oddball ERP task, an MRI-scan, and intelligence testing. P3a latency and cortical volume shared 9% variance (p<.05) and both were significantly related to performance intelligence (R2=.26 and .40, respectively). The amount of explained variance increased significantly (to R2=.51) when both measures were used as simultaneous predictors. When a path diagram was constructed including age as an exogenous variable, P3a latency and cortical volume both significantly predicted performance intelligence, but were no longer related to one another. The main conclusion from the study is that speed and size are complementary in prediction of performance intelligence, and the theoretical implications are discussed.