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This research explores how processing in the human brain gives rise to the highest qualities of the human intellect: abstract thought and reasoning. It is well established that people who are good at one particular kind of mental operation tend also to be good at others: ability across diverse cognitive domains tends to co-vary. Over a hundred years ago, Spearman (1904) proposed that a common factor of general intelligence, g, accounts for the relationship between different measures of cognitive ability, the so-called positive manifold. Individual differences in g strongly predicts success across a wide range of cognitive operations, from highly specific laboratory tests to more general “real-world” challenges such as education and career achievements. Our aim is to identify which brain areas are responsible for g using fMRI and TMS to measure and disrupt neural processing within the human brain.

Investigators: Mark Stokes, Ben Crittenden
Collaborator: John Duncan
Funding: British Academy