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Measuring the Mind: Speed, control, and age$
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John Duncan, Louise Phillips, and Peter McLeod

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780198566427

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198566427.001.0001

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Prefrontal cortex and Spearman's g

Prefrontal cortex and Spearman's g

(p.249) Chapter 10 Prefrontal cortex and Spearman's g
Measuring the Mind: Speed, control, and age

John Duncan

Oxford University Press

This chapter addresses the basis for general intelligence or Spearman's g. It begins with a striking finding from functional brain imaging: in specific regions of frontal and parietal cortex, there is a pattern of similar activation for many different cognitive demands. Plausibly, this pattern of multiple-demand (MD) activity could reflect functions basic to g. A related finding comes from monkey studies: in the lateral prefrontal cortex, neurons produce a dense, selective representation of information relevant to a current task, whatever that task may be. Moving on to behavioural studies, the discussion shows how competition in a task model can result in loss of vulnerable task components. It ends with evidence from an ongoing study of human brain lesions. Though MD damage is associated with g deficits, such deficits can also be produced by large lesions elsewhere.

Keywords:   general intelligence, brain imaging, multiple-demand activity, human brain lesions, monkey studies

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