Narrow and smart
Intelligence is a fascinating and elusive thing. Since Ug the caveman first gained notoriety as a brainbox for deciding to chip the edge from a stone to make it sharper, humans have realised that some people have something that others do not. Today we call it intelligence and there is a persistent quest to define it and measure it. Now a new study has suggested that blood vessels could be a guide to this mysterious quality.
Interest in intelligence dates back thousands of years, but it wasn\’t until psychologist Alfred Binet was commissioned to identify students who needed educational assistance that the first IQ test was born. During the early 1900s, the French government asked Binet to help decide which students were mostly likely to experience difficulty in schools. The government had passed laws requiring that all French children attend school, so it was important to find a way to identify children who would need specialised assistance.
Binet initially believe there is a connection between the size of human brain and intelligence. He commited many years to measuring the brains of students who were more or less gifted, but the differences he found were so negligible that big brains did not relate to a higher IQ and vice versa. So Binet came up with a new concept of intelligence; he approached the intelligence as an ability to solve tasks and problems. Based on this new concept of intelligence Binet established standardised tasks for various age groups. From this eventually grew the IQ tests that we know today.
If you donâ€™t to give a test though, a new study has found that blood vessel width might offer some insights to your IQ.
This new research was done with a view to seeing how IQ might relate to overall brain health. The blood vessels of the retina have a similar size, structure and function to those in the brain. So using a technique known as digital retinal imaging these researchers were able to correlate the nature of these retinal blood vessels, brain health, and IQ.
The results showed that people with wide retinal blood vessels tended to have lower IQ levels than those with narrower blood vessels. Data analysis showed that people with wide blood vessels also had lower IQs when they were children.
The link is probably due to the relationship between blood vessels and oxygen supply to the brain. So while the width if your head might not indicate your IQ, the width of your blood vessels might.