It has been shown in adults that individual differences in intelligence are related to the integrity of the interaction between parietal and frontal brain regions. Since connectivity between distant brain regions strengthens during childhood, it is unclear when in the course of development this relationship emerges. Thus, the goal of this study was to determine whether parietal-frontal functional connectivity is associated with intelligence in young children. We performed independent component analyses on resting-state fMRI data of 115 children (6-8 years old) to select seed and target regions for a seed/target region correlation analysis. We found that higher nonverbal intelligence was associated with increased functional connectivity between right parietal and right frontal regions, and between right parietal and dorsal anterior cingulate regions. The association between intelligence and functional connectivity between certain brain regions was stronger in girls than boys. In conclusion, we found that connectivity between the parietal and frontal lobes is critically involved in intelligence in young children.

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Human Brain Mapping
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Langeslag, S., Schmidt, M., Ghassabian, A., Jaddoe, V., Hofman, A., van der Lugt, A., … White, T. (2013). Functional connectivity between parietal and frontal brain regions and intelligence in young children: The Generation R study. Human Brain Mapping, 34(12), 3299–3307. doi:10.1002/hbm.22143