Published December 19, 2018 | Version v1
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Data from: Large and fast human pyramidal neurons associate with intelligence

  • 1. VU University Amsterdam
  • 2. University of Sheffield
  • 3. University of Antwerp
  • 4. Stichting Epilepsie Instellingen Nederland
  • 5. Department of Neurosurgery, VU medical center (VUmc), Amsterdam, The Netherlands*
  • 6. Department of Medical Psychology, VU medical center (VUmc), Amsterdam, The Netherlands*


It is generally assumed that human intelligence relies on efficient processing by neurons in our brain. Although gray matter thickness and activity of temporal and frontal cortical areas correlate with IQ scores, no direct evidence exists that links structural and physiological properties of neurons to human intelligence. Here, we find that high IQ scores and large temporal cortical thickness associate with larger, more complex dendrites of human pyramidal neurons. We show in silico that larger dendritic trees enable pyramidal neurons to track activity of synaptic inputs with higher temporal precision, due to fast action potential kinetics. Indeed, we find that human pyramidal neurons of individuals with higher IQ scores sustain fast action potential kinetics during repeated firing. These findings provide the first evidence that human intelligence is associated with neuronal complexity, action potential kinetics and efficient information transfer from input s to output within cortical neurons.



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10.7554/eLife.41714 (DOI)