Hi everyone!   

Welcome to my third research round for my inquiry question: “How is education connected to intelligence and success?”. In my first round, I discussed the concept of intelligence. Furthermore, I went into depth on whether intelligence is a “nurture or nature”. In my second round of research, I investigated education. Topics from accessibility to availability were touched.  

In this post, I will be delving more into the connection between intelligence and education. I will be researching the mental aspects of intelligence and the biological reasonings. For example, I will be investigating the difference in the sizes of brain upon “intelligent” vs “not intelligent” individuals. Other factors on intelligence, including culture and sex, will be researched. 

Let’s begin! 

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What part of the brain is responsible for intelligence? 

-->Remember: Intelligence is defined by the ability to receive and apply knowledge (1).   

-->There are three main parts to the brain: the cerebrum, cerebellum and brainstem. The cerebrum is the most important part responsible for intelligence. It is the largest part of the brain and is composed of right and let hemispheres. It is accountable for functions like interpreting touch, vision, hearing, speech, reasoning, emotions, learning and control of movement. 

-->The surface of the cerebrum is called the cortex. It has 16 billion neurons found on its layered surface. There are nerve cell bodies make the cortex grey-brown; consequently, they are named grey matter. There are also long nerve fibers that connect the brain areas to each other which are called white matter (2). 

-->White and grey matter are also known to play a big role. Gray matter is known to represent the information processing centers in the brain. On the other hand, white matter are the connections between these centers (3). 


-->Although there are key aspects of intelligence that are handled in specific spots, intelligence is not located in a particular part of the brain (4, 5). When an individual is asked to perform certain tasks that require a demonstration of reasoning, outer parts of the cortex in the brain are known to become activated. Consequently, the cortex is known to be the area of the brain most the most attributed to planning, executive control, and short-term memory (4). 

-->The cerebrum can be divided to lobes. It is evident that each one of these parts play a role in an individual’s overall intelligence. 

  • Frontal lobe: responsible for personality, behaviors, emotions, judgment, planning and problem solving. 
  • Parietal lobe: responsible for interpreting language and sensing touch, pain and temperature.  
  • Occipital lobe: responsible for interpreting vision 
  • Temporal lobe: responsible for understanding language, memory, hearing, sequencing and organization (2). 

-->Recent research suggests that two clusters of genes, called M1 and M3, help determine human intelligence. It is believed to influence our cognitive functions from memory, attention, processing speed and reasoning (6).   


What happens in the mind when someone is demonstrating intelligence? What would make one person more “intelligent” than another? What does brain size say about a person's mental abilities?  

-->Intelligence is not specifically reliant on brain size. However, it is dictated on the efficiency of information travelling throughout the brain. Consequently, when someone is demonstrating intelligence, parts of their brain are rapidly communicated with each other. 

-->Most areas of the brain that are accountable for intelligence are clustered in the frontal and partial lobes (5).  

-->The brain’s organization and molecular activity at its synapses are a big factor. That is, the systems within the brain and how neurons or nerve cells and synapses are organized are also crucial in determining information-processing capacity (7).  

-->Research done by UCLA School of Medicine have demonstrated results that demonstrate a link between brain speed and intelligence. When there is a greater structural integrity, the speed that it takes for nerve impulses to travel also increases. This suggests higher intelligence. 

-->We are not “stuck” with the amount of intelligence we inherit. Studies propose that when you “work out” the brain more, the more efficient it becomes. For example, when people practice the violin, try various math problems or learn a foreign language, they are strengthening certain pathways in their brains (8). 

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Culture Effects on Intelligence: 

-->The reality is that intelligence isn’t the only thing that predicts how much education a person receives. There are also other factors such as family and culture (9).  

-->Culture is a way of life of a person living in particular society (10). In general, people with a high social-economic standing have more opportunities than people with a lower standing (10, 11).  

-->It also effects what we learn. For example, individuals from other cultures don’t necessarily perform well on western tests and vice-versa. Furthermore, in some cultures, they focus more on practical skills that go unrecognized in the western academic tests. The processes of intelligence are universal; however, the manifestations are not (11).  

-->Study published in Psychological Science investigated into the genetic and environmental factors in the educational opportunities received per individual. They compared identical and fraternal twins in Sweden and Minnesota.  

-->They found that family background plays a strong role in getting a person more education. Even so, people with higher general intelligence had more education.  

-->In Minnesota, family environment had a bigger role in getting people with low intelligence to pursue more education. In Sweden, family environment had more influence for people of high intelligence. Thus, it is seen that the targeted people were different in each country. 

-->This may be because, in the United States, you pay to get a college education. In Sweden, it is dependent on grades and test scores. This is because college education is free (9). 

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Sex differences in Intelligence:

-->There are some sex-specific patterns, but, overall, there are more similarities than differences. 

-->Men had a larger overall brain size. There are 14 regions where men had higher brain volume and 10 regions where women did. In a study, it is found that females have thicker cortices than men. Having thicker cortices is known to related to higher scores in various of cognitive and general intelligence tests. Males, on the other hand, held higher brain volumes in other regions such as the hippocampus, the amygdala, the striatum and the thalamus (12). 

-->The brain’s organization also vary between sexes. There is an importance of gray and white matter to the relationship of intelligence. A UC Irvine study delved into the various brain areas where males and females exhibit their intelligence. On average, it was found that men have approximately six point five times more gray matter related to general intelligence than women. However, women have almost ten times more white matter than men. This suggests an explanation to why men generally perform in tasks requiring more local processing such as mathematics and why women are better at integrating information such as for language courses (13). 

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In my next round of research, I will be wrapping up this cycle and investigating the concept of success. Whereas this research round was primarily delving into the mental differences of my question, I will be looking into the physical differences. Topics such asdoes more intelligence and education result in more success in the future, how is success defined along individuals, do people believe that they need more education will be covered. Please leave suggestions in the comments of any other concepts you want me to include! 


Websites that I used: 

(1) http://www.brainmetrix.com/intelligence-definition/  

(2) https://mayfieldclinic.com/pe-anatbrain.htm  

(3) https://www.webmd.com/brain/ne...-gray-white-matter#1  

(4) https://opentextbc.ca/introduc...suring-intelligence/  

(5) https://www.livescience.com/18...elligence-works.html  

(6) https://www.independent.co.uk/...igence-a6782766.html  

(7) https://www.scientificamerican...s-brain-size-matter/  

(8) https://www.npr.org/templates/...hp?storyId=102169531  

(9) https://www.sciencedaily.com/r.../09/100927155328.htm  

(10) https://rexmichaelresplandor.w...ure-on-intelligence/  

(11) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/p...428/pdf/15347533.pdf 

(12) https://www.sciencedaily.com/r.../01/050121100142.htm  


Thank you so much for reading my post, 



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Original Post

Hi Alison,

This is a great topic. I really enjoyed reading this post and I find your information very interesting. Your information was very clearly organized. It was easy to understand, and it was clear that you have done lots of effective research to support your question. I liked how you included lots of information about the connection between the brain and intelligence. I found it very interesting that it is not the size of the brain that matters, but it is the speed. I also found it very interesting when you talked about how your family and culture can affect intelligence. It is a great example of how our past experiences affect us. This topic also reminds me of something that I was thinking about a while ago and wondering if I could possibly research it for my next question. I was thinking about how being smart and having a good memory are connected and when writing tests does it matter how smart you are if you have a good memory and does having a good memory make you smart? Something that may be interesting to research is how intelligence is related to being smart and if they are considered the same thing, or are two completely different things.

Here are some links that you may find interesting:



Great Post,


Hey Alison!

I'm very intrigued by your research as it allowed me to question some concepts I've never really thought about in the past. For example, is intelligence something that can truly be measured or is it simply based on other people's perspectives? Is someone who has a "surface-level" amount of information on a vast amount of topics more or less intelligent than someone who knows a lot about one specific topic? And lastly, the question that is related to your inquiry, is intelligence (or as you defined it, the ability to retain and apply knowledge) taught or is it something you're born with?

In my opinion, intelligence comes with practice and discipline. Being taught effective ways to retain information, stay focused, and practicing these skills from an early age is what I believe leads to intelligence later on in life - or at least academic success. Which has lead me to another question - are intelligence and academic success the same? Woah, Alison! Your research is blowing my mind... I have a lot to think about and I can't wait for your next round!

Great job and good luck!

Hi Alison!

Awesome research round! It was super informative and put in a way that made it super clear to read. I like how you went as far as comparing brains between sexes, I found that part very intriguing to read. It’s interesting that men generally have a higher brain volume than women, but that doesn’t seem to affect their intelligence levels really that much. I’m curious as to why that is, so maybe if your interested, you could research that in a future round. Here are some websites to help you out next round:



Good luck!


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