Benedict Carey reports on a study by 200 scientists at over 100 imaging centers which analysed relationships between genes and intelligence. Working collaboratively helped to create one large database which was then linked to a similar study in progress.
Brain imaging studies are expensive and, as a result, far too small to reliably tease out the effects of common gene variations. These effects tend to be tiny, for one thing, and difficult to distinguish from the background “noise” of other influences. And brain imaging is notoriously noisy: not only does overall brain size vary from person to person, for instance, but so do the sizes of specialized brain regions like the hippocampus, which is critical for memory formation.