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Neurology &

Neuroanatomical differences in the memory systems of intellectual giftedness and typical development. 2021. Intellectually gifted children had larger subcortical structures and more robust white matter microstructural organization between those structures in regions associated with explicit memory while typically developing children had larger subcortical structures in regions associated with implicit memory. The researchers conclude that the brains of intellectually gifted children are differently sized and connected, which also suggests different learning strategies. 

The Gifted Brain Revealed Unraveling the Neuroscience of the Bright Experience. Written by Nicole A. Tetreault, PhD and Matthew J. Zakreski, PsyD, this article provides a comprehensive literature review around neuroscience and giftedness. Dr. Tetreault's Insight into a Bright Mind is also available on Kindle and print. The book provides an overview of the research and breaks down the science that explains how the gifted brain is "hard-wired" differently.  

Directed Connectivity Analysis of the Brain Network in Mathematically Gifted Adolescents. 2020. Abstract: "The neurocognitive characteristics of mathematically gifted adolescents are characterized by highly developed functional interactions between the right hemisphere and excellent cognitive control of the prefrontal cortex, enhanced frontoparietal cortex, and posterior parietal cortex. However, it is still unclear when and how these cortical interactions occur. In this paper, we used directional coherence analysis based on Granger causality to study the interactions between the frontal brain area and the posterior brain area in the mathematical frontoparietal network system during deductive reasoning tasks. Specifically, the scalp electroencephalography (EEG) signal was first converted into a cortical dipole source signal to construct a Granger causality network over the θ-band and γ-band ranges. We constructed the binary Granger causality network at the 40 pairs of cortical nodes in the frontal lobe and parietal lobe across the θ-band and the γ-band, which were selected as regions of interest (ROI). We then used graph theory to analyze the network differences. It was found that, in the process of reasoning tasks, the frontoparietal regions of the mathematically gifted show stronger working memory information processing at the θ-band. Additionally, in the middle and late stages of the conclusion period, the mathematically talented individuals have less information flow in the anterior and posterior parietal regions of the brain than the normal subjects. We draw the conclusion that the mathematically gifted brain frontoparietal network appears to have more “automated” information processing during reasoning tasks." 

Structural brain network of gifted children has a more integrated and versatile topology. 2019. Abstract: "Gifted children learn more rapidly and effectively than others, presumably due to neurophysiological differences that affect efficiency in neuronal communication. Identifying the topological features that support its capabilities is relevant to understanding how the brain structure is related to intelligence. We proposed the analysis of the structural covariance network to assess which organizational patterns are characteristic of gifted children. The graph theory was used to analyse topological properties of structural covariance across a group of gifted children. The analysis was focused on measures of brain network integration, such as, participation coefficient and versatility, which quantifies the strength of specific modular affiliation of each regional node. We found that the gifted group network was more integrated (and less segregated) than the control group network. Brain regional nodes in the gifted group network had higher versatility and participation coefficient, indicating greater inter-modular communication mediated by connector hubs with links to many modules. Connector hubs of the networks of both groups were located mainly in association with neocortical areas (which had thicker cortex), with fewer hubs in primary or secondary neocortical areas (which had thinner cortex), as well as a few connector hubs in limbic cortex and insula. In the group of gifted children, a larger proportion of connector hubs were located in association cortex. In conclusion, gifted children have a more integrated and versatile brain network topology. This is compatible with the global workspace theory and other data linking integrative network topology to cognitive performance."

Network attributes underlying intellectual giftedness in the developing brain. 2017. Abstract: "Brain network is organized to maximize the efficiency of both segregated and integrated information processing that may be related to human intelligence. However, there have been surprisingly few studies that focus on the topological characteristics of brain network underlying extremely high intelligence that is intellectual giftedness, particularly in adolescents. Here, we examined the network topology in 25 adolescents with superior intelligence (SI-Adol), 25 adolescents with average intelligence (AI-Adol), and 27 young adults with AI (AI-Adult). We found that SI-Adol had network topological properties of high global efficiency as well as high clustering with a low wiring cost, relative to AI-Adol. However, contrary to the suggested role that brain hub regions play in general intelligence, the network efficiency of rich club connection matrix, which represents connections among brain hubs, was low in SI-Adol in comparison to AI-Adol. Rather, a higher level of local connection density was observed in SI-Adol than in AI-Adol. The highly intelligent brain may not follow this efficient yet somewhat stereotypical process of information integration entirely. Taken together, our results suggest that a highly intelligent brain may communicate more extensively, while being less dependent on rich club communications during adolescence."

The Gifted Brain. 2016. This article written by Gifted Research and Outreach (GRO) summarizes much of the literature at that point in time related to neuroanatomy of giftedness. 

Meta-analysis of associations between human brain volume and intelligence differences: How strong are they and what do they mean? 2015. A meta-analysis reveals that there is an overestimation of the relationship between brain volume and IQ. However, it also finds that there is an association between the two, although the effects have been declining over time. 

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