Human intelligence could result from high levels of activity in a region of the brain called the lateral prefrontal cortex, as well as strong connectivity between this region and the rest of the brain.

Human intelligence is marked by the ability to direct thoughts and behaviour in pursuit of a goal. This 'cognitive control' has previously been linked to activity in the lateral prefrontal cortex. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, Michael Cole at Washington University in Saint Louis, Missouri, and his team examined the activity of this region and its connectivity across the brain in 94 young adults. Individuals with high levels of connectivity were more likely to perform well on tests of both cognitive control and intelligence.

The lateral prefrontal cortex could act as a global hub for human intelligence that exerts its effects across the brain.

J. Neurosci. 32, 8988–8999 (2012)