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Does A Genius Have A Large Brain?

Most people measure the intellect of an individual by providing an IQ test, which focuses on measuring reasoning, vocabulary, memory, brain processing speed, logic, mathematics and spatial reasoning. Individuals who excel in those areas are often considered geniuses. But then there are those individuals who are considered geniuses in the arts, such as music and literature. How does one judge their intellect? And how does being a genius affect the brain? Do geniuses have larger brains than individuals with a more average intelligence?

The Size of the Brain
It seems like the reasoning that the more intelligent a person is, the bigger their brain is would make sense. After all, geniuses must have some sort of advantage over those that have a more average intelligence, right? This is actually not true. You’ve probably heard of the fact that we do not actually use the entirety of our brains. If this were the case, then why would a genius need to have a larger brain in order to have a greater intelligence? The size of the brain actually has nothing to do with one’s intelligence. Studies were even done in order to come to this conclusion. Decades ago, scientists conducted testing on the person considered to be one of the most famous geniuses of all time: Albert Einstein. They found that there was no difference between how large his brain was compared to the brain size of individuals of average intelligence.

Does Brain Size Affect Intelligence in any Way?
Just because it’s pretty much commonly accepted that a genius doesn’t have a larger brain size than a person of average intelligence does not mean that intelligence isn’t affected by brain size. In fact, research has shown that smaller brain size can result in issues such as poor cognitive performance as well as criminal behavior. These conclusions were made based off of studies focusing on childhood lead exposure. It was found that children that were exposed to lead ended up with smaller sized brains than those who were not exposed to lead. It was found that lead actually kills neurons, which are nerve cells, thereby resulting in smaller brains.

What Affects the Intelligence of a Person?
According to more recent studies, many scientists now believe that the intelligence of an individual is a result of the structure of the brain, not the size. Many scientists argue that the underlying organization of the brain as well as the molecular activity at the synapses, which are the communication junctions between the neurons where the nerve impulses pass, determine the intelligence of a person. This still isn’t a foregone conclusion, as scientists who believe this theory consider dolphins to be rather unintelligent due to the simplicity of their brain structure, which is actually the size of a typical human brain. Those that disagree with this theory point to the opinion that dolphins are some of the most complex thinking mammals on the planet, and that they have a very unusual brain structure that can’t be compared with other species. 

It’s become pretty much accepted that a genius does not have a larger brain than individuals of average intelligence. But the source of a genius’s above average intelligence is something that is still debated among scientists today.

Gary Starkman Dr. Starkman, a top Neurologist in NYC, is the Medical Director and founder of New York Neurology Associates. He is Board Certified in Neurology with a subspecialty certification in Pain Medicine.

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