Hippocampal size positively correlates with verbal IQ in male children

Cynthia Schumann, Julia Hamstra, Beth L. Goodlin-Jones, Hower Kwon, Allan L. Reiss, David G Amaral

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Historically, there have been numerous proposals that the size of the brain correlates with its capacity to process information. Little is known, however, about which specific brain regions contribute to this correlation in children and adolescents. This study evaluated the relationship between intelligence and the size of various brain structures in typically developing male children 8-18 yrs of age. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans were used to measure the volume of the cerebrum, cerebral gray and white matter, cerebellum, amygdala, and hippocampus. Gray matter and hippocampal volume significantly correlated with full scale and verbal IQ. Since the hippocampus strongly correlated with verbal but not performance IQ, our findings reinforce the hypothesis that the hippocampus is involved in declarative and semantic learning, which contributes more notably to verbal IQ, than to performance IQ. Given the substantial evidence for environmentally induced changes in hippocampal structure, an unresolved issue is whether this relationship reflects genetically determined individual variation or learning induced plasticity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)486-493
Number of pages8
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2007


  • Amygdala
  • Brain volume
  • Cerebral gray
  • Hippocampus
  • Intelligence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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