10 Unsolved Questions In Neuroscience

The mind still holds many mysteries today. Here, we uncover what we know about ten of them.

7. What is intelligence?

Despite the ubiquity and extensive use of the intelligence quotient (IQ) test, the very definition of intelligence is itself an unanswered question. Although scientists agree that intelligence is not the straightforward outcome of having a larger brain, they are unsure if intelligence is the result of a high number or particular pattern of neural connections, an unusually efficient wiring pathway, or something else.

In fact, intelligence may not even be a single trait but a whole range of skills spanning emotional astuteness, analytical ability and linguistic flair. Are these abilities related or are they mutually exclusive? To what degree do non-human animals have intelligence, and even more controversially, are there genetic differences that account for varying intelligence between human beings? These are just some of the most pressing questions in the minefield that is intelligence.

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Ying Ying completed her PhD in neurobiology at the University of Basel, where she studied the role of bone morphogenetic protein in structural plasticity of neurons.

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