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General cognitive ability, sometimes referred to as intelligence, is associated with educational attainment throughout childhood. Most studies that have explored the neural correlates of intelligence in childhood focus on individual brain regions. This analytical approach is designed to identify restricted sets of voxels that overlap across participants. By contrast, we explored the relationship between white matter connectome organization, intelligence, and education. In both a sample of typically-developing children (N = 63) and a sample of struggling learners (N = 139), the white matter connectome efficiency was strongly associated with intelligence and educational attainment. Further, intelligence partially mediated the relationship between connectome efficiency and educational attainment. In contrast, a canonical voxel-wise analysis failed to identify any significant relationships. The results emphasize the importance of distributed brain network properties for cognitive or educational ability in childhood. Our findings are interpreted in the context of a developmental theory, which emphasizes the interaction between different subsystems over developmental time.

Original publication

DOI

10.1016/j.tine.2019.02.004

Type

Journal article

Journal

Trends Neurosci Educ

Publication Date

06/2019

Volume

15

Pages

38 - 47

Keywords

Child development, Connectome, Education, Intelligence, White matter