Saturday, June 18, 2005

Study Shows Big-Brained People are Smarter

Virginia Commonwealth University, "ranked nationally by the Carnegie Foundation as a top research institution," is once again at the leading edge of scientific research, according to a press release

In a study that "could settle a long-standing scientific debate about the relationship between brain size and intelligence," Michael A. McDaniel, professor in management in VCU’s School of Business has found, in a meta-analysis of studies that used "MRI-based brain assessments," that big-brained people are smarter. This has long been suspected, but in the darker ages the tools were too crude to provide conclusive proof.
"Before MRIs, scientists often used external skull measurements or waited until a person died to estimate brain size. The external skull measurements were only approximate estimates of brain volume."
Not only should this discovery put a handsome new furrow in Charles Murray's brow as he laments the hopelessness of the puny-brained lower classes, but it is apparently a giant leap forward for personnel managers.
As an industrial and organizational psychologist, McDaniel works with employers to screen job applicants and measure their performance. He said employers will appreciate his findings because intelligence tests are the single best predictor of job performance.
Will they show their appreciation by requiring applicants to have MRI-based brain assessments?

Dr. McDaniel must keep his students spellbound with the following sort of insight:
“On average, smarter people learn quicker, make fewer errors, and are more productive.”
It is therefore disheartening that the professor is unable to properly spell either the first or last name of the famous German researcher, Friedrich Tiedemann
"Ever since German anatomist and physiologist Frederick Tiedmann (sic) wrote in 1836 that there exists 'an indisputable connection between the size of the brain and the mental energy displayed by the individual man,' scientists have been searching for biological evidence to prove his claim."
Shouldn't Dr. McDaniel, the article's reviewers, and the editors of the journal Intelligence, be big-brained enough to know who Tiedemann was and how to spell his name? Tiedemann's fame is so enduring that, for a brain-sizer, mispelling this name is equal to a geneticist not knowing how to spell "Crick" or "Watson."

The press release is accessed by clicking the title of this post. A pdf of the full article is here. An abstract of the article, "Big-brained people are smarter: A meta-analysis of the relationship between in vivo brain volume and intelligence," is here.


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