Poster C135, Sunday, March 26, 5:00 – 7:00 pm, Pacific Concourse
Intelligence and modular brain networks: The TPJ’s involvement in inter-modular communication is associated with general intelligence
Kirsten Hilger1,2, Matthias Ekman3, Christian Fiebach1,2, Ulrike Basten1; 1Goethe University Frankfurt, Frankfurt am Main, Germany, 2IDeA Center for Individual Development and Adaptive Education, Frankfurt am Main, Germany, 3Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition, and Behaviour, Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands
Individual differences in general intelligence have been linked to function, structure, and interaction of frontal and parietal brain regions (Jung & Haier, 2007; Basten et al., 2015). Recently, graph-theoretical analyses have been used to identify features of brain network topology associated with intelligence. Here, we investigate the role of the modularity structure of functional brain networks for intelligence, by examining inter- and intra-module communication in a large and representative sample of N = 309 adults (18-60 years; Nooner et al., 2012). Based on fMRI resting-state data, functional networks were modeled as graphs over a range of different sparsity thresholds. The network modularity structure was investigated with global graph metrics of modularity and two node-specific metrics of inter-module connectivity (participation coefficient) and intra-module connectivity (within-module degree centrality), respectively. Global modularity was not significantly associated with intelligence (Wechsler Abbreviated Scales of Intelligence). For participation coefficient and intelligence, we observed a positive association in the anterior insula (AI) and a negative association in the temporo-parietal junction area (TPJ). For within-module degree centrality, we observed opposite associations with intelligence in both regions, i.e., negative in AI and positive in TPJ. For left TPJ, these results could be replicated in an independent sample (N = 114). Given the TPJ’s central role in bottom-up attention, we speculate that less functional connections between the TPJ and brain regions in other network modules reflect facilitated shielding of cognitive processing against irrelevant information in people with higher intelligence.
Topic Area: THINKING: Reasoning