Background: Childhood is an extremely important time for neural development that has a critical role in human intelligence. Efficient information processing is crucial for higher intelligence, so the intra- or inter-hemispheric interaction is vital. However, the relationship between neuroanatomical connections and intelligence in typically developing children, as well as sex differences in this relationship, remains unknown. Methods: Participants were 253 typically developing children (121 boys and 132 girls) aged 5–18. We acquired diffusion tensor imaging data and intelligence using an age-appropriate version of the IQ test; Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC) or Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS). We conducted whole-brain multiple regression analysis to investigate the association between fractional anisotropy (FA), which reflects white matter microstructural properties, and each composite score of IQ test (full-scale IQ, performance IQ, and verbal IQ). Results: FA was positively correlated with full-scale IQ in bilateral inferior occipitofrontal fasciculus, genu, and splenium of corpus callosum (CC). FA in the right superior longitudinal fasciculus, bilateral inferior longitudinal fasciculus, and splenium of CC were also positively correlated with performance IQ. Furthermore, we found significant sex interaction between FA in the CC and verbal IQ. FA was positively correlated in boys, and negatively correlated in girls. Conclusion: Results suggest that efficient anatomical connectivity between parietal and frontal regions is crucial for children's intelligence. Moreover, inter-hemispheric connections play a critical role in verbal abilities in boys.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Developmental Neuroscience
- Clinical Neurology