Subcortical intelligence: Caudate volume predicts IQ in healthy adults

Rachael G. Grazioplene, Sephira G. Ryman, Jeremy R. Gray, Aldo Rustichini, Rex E. Jung, Colin G. Deyoung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


This study examined the association between size of the caudate nuclei and intelligence. Based on the central role of the caudate in learning, as well as neuroimaging studies linking greater caudate volume to better attentional function, verbal ability, and dopamine receptor availability, we hypothesized the existence of a positive association between intelligence and caudate volume in three large independent samples of healthy adults (total N=517). Regression of IQ onto bilateral caudate volume controlling for age, sex, and total brain volume indicated a significant positive correlation between caudate volume and intelligence, with a comparable magnitude of effect across each of the three samples. No other subcortical structures were independently associated with IQ, suggesting a specific biological link between caudate morphology and intelligence. Hum Brain Mapp 36:1407-1416, 2015.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1407-1416
Number of pages10
JournalHuman Brain Mapping
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


  • Caudate
  • Dorsal striatum
  • IQ
  • Intelligence
  • Magnetic resonance imaging


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