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Hormones may influence genius

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Are geniuses "gene" geniuses or are they environmental geniuses?

Those were really the only two explanations offered up to explain the Einstein types.

Now, hormones have been thrown into the ring as a possible influencing factor.

A new paper hypothesized that giftedness (scoring 130 or higher on an IQ test) may be linked to prenatal exposure of higher levels of testosterone, much in the same way that physical and cognitive deficiencies can be developed in utero.

"Elevated testosterone levels in utero may contribute to high IQ"

University of Alberta researcher Marty Mrazik clinically assessed gifted individuals and thinks there seems is some evidence that excessive prenatal exposure to testosterone promotes increased connections in the brain.

He also observed some specific traits among the subjects, that led them to think about other theories besides genes and environment.

Mrazik hypothesizes this excessive testosterone in utero may also explain the neurobiological development that causes gifted children to be born with a certain brilliance in arts, science, or english.

The right prefrontal cortex, a region implicated in planning, personality and encouraging appropriate social behavior, is the focused area.

Increased connectivity in this part of the brain may explain why some super intelligent people have personality traits that aren't usually seen in the 'normal' population

After the clinical assessments, Mrazik thought there may be something more to biological predetermination of genius than originally thought.

He also adds that functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scans suggest there’s more than a genetic vs. environmental overlay here.

More research is needed to test his hypothesis, but it is interesting food for thought.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
April 3, 2011
Last Updated:
July 14, 2011