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Behavioural Neurology
Volume 2015, Article ID 354186, 8 pages
Research Article

Attentional Control and Intelligence: MRI Orbital Frontal Gray Matter and Neuropsychological Correlates

1Department of Psychology, University of Massachusetts, Boston, MA 02401, USA
2Clinical Neuroscience Division, Laboratory of Neuroscience, Boston VA Healthcare System-Brockton Division, Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, Brockton, MA, USA
3Psychiatry Neuroimaging Laboratory, Department of Psychiatry, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA

Received 5 February 2015; Revised 8 May 2015; Accepted 11 May 2015

Academic Editor: Gianfranco Spalletta

Copyright © 2015 Paul G. Nestor et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Attentional control is a key function of working memory that is hypothesized to play an important role in psychometric intelligence. To test the neuropsychological underpinnings of this hypothesis, we examined full-scale IQ, as measured by the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-Third Edition (WAIS-III), and attentional control, as measured by Trails B response time and Wisconsin Card Sorting (WCS) test perseverative errors in 78 healthy participants, 25 of whom also had available magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) gray matter volume studies of the orbital frontal cortex (OFC) parcellated into three regions: gyrus rectus, middle orbital gyrus, and lateral orbital gyrus. Hierarchical regression indicated that Trails B response time specifically explained 15.13% to 19.18% of the variation in IQ and WCS perseverative errors accounted for an additional 8.12% to 11.29% of the variance. Full-scale IQ correlated very strongly with right middle orbital gyrus gray matter volume (, ), as did Trails B response time with left middle orbital gyrus gray matter volume (, ). Trails B response time and right middle orbital gyrus gray matter volume jointly accounted for approximately 32.95% to 54.82% of the variance in IQ scores. These results provided evidence of the unique contributions of attentional control and OFC gray matter to intelligence.