Enhanced brain connectivity in math-gifted adolescents: An fMRI study using mental rotation

James Prescott, Maria Gavrilescu, Ross Cunnington, Michael W. O'Boyle, Gary F. Egan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Mathematical giftedness is a form of intelligence related to enhanced mathematical reasoning that can be tested using a variety of numerical and spatial tasks. A number of neurobiological mechanisms related to exceptional mathematical reasoning ability have been postulated, including enhanced brain connectivity. We aimed to further investigate this possibility by comparing a group of mathematically gifted adolescents with an average math ability control group performing mental rotation of complex three-dimensional block figures. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data were collected and differences in intrahemispheric and interhemispheric connectivity between the groups were assessed using structural equation modeling (SEM). The math-gifted showed heightened intrahemispheric frontoparietal connectivity, as well as enhanced interhemispheric frontal connectivity between the dorsolateral prefrontal and premotor cortex. These enhanced connectivity patterns are consistent with previous studies linking increased activation of the frontal and parietal regions with high fluid intelligence, and may be a unique neural characteristic of the mathematically gifted brain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)277-288
Number of pages12
JournalCognitive Neuroscience
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2010


  • Brain connectivity
  • FMRI
  • Math gifted
  • Mental rotation


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