What is the brain's role in genius?

Brain is everything. It collects information, processes it, colors it, places it in context with past experience and future expectations. It combines facts in old patterns or abstracts it into something totally new. It recalls old information or describes an emotional process in ways that other people can readily understand. People who are considered "genius" are exceptional in some or all of these attributes.

The brain regulates the body's organ systems, muscles, senses and emotions. It also allows a person to think, analyze information and solve problems. But how does it make you smart?

The cerebral cortex, the largest and outermost part of the brain, is where thought and reasoning happen. A 2004 study at the University of California, Irvine found that the volume of gray matter in parts of the cerebral cortex had a greater effect on intelligence than the brain's total volume. The findings suggest that the physical attributes of many parts of the brain determine how smart a person is, as opposed to a centralized "intelligence center."

A paper in the journal Nature two years later theorized that how the brain develops is more important than the brain's size. A person's cerebral cortex thickens during childhood and thins during adolescence. The study indicated that the brains of children with higher IQs thickened faster than those of other children.

Studies also suggest that children inherit intelligence from their parents to some extent. Some researchers theorize that this is because the physical structure of the brain can be an inherited trait. Also, the process of becoming really good at something both requires and encourages the brain to wire itself to better handle that particular task.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.