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Skull size and intelligence, and King Robert Bruce's IQ

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Abstract

An estimate of someone's IQ is a potentially informative personal datum. This study examines the association between external skull measurements and IQ scores, and uses the resulting regression equation to provide an estimate of the IQ of King Robert I of Scotland (Robert Bruce, 1274-1329). Participants were 48 relatively healthy Caucasian men (age 71-76 years) resident in Scotland. Using magnetic resonance imaging data, intracranial volume estimated from external skull length and width correlated greater than .5 (p < .001) with measured intracranial area, which correlates very highly with brain volume. IQ scores estimated from the National Adult Reading Test (NART) correlated .56 (p < .001) with measured intracranial area, and .49 (P < .01) with estimated intracranial volume based on external skull width and length. The partial correlation coefficient of this latter association was .25 (p = .09) after adjustment for measured intracranial area. Thus, actual intracranial area accounts for about 74% of the variance shared by NART and estimated intracranial volume. A cast of the skull of Robert Bruce was measured and its intracranial volume estimated. A regression equation between IQ and estimated intracranial volume, based on data from the 48 subjects, estimated the IQ of Robert Bruce at about 128 (95% confidence interval 106 to >> 130), i.e. almost two standard deviations above the mean. NART scores show a ceiling effect, so this estimated IQ might be an underestimate. Robert Bruce's estimated high IQ is congruent with his military, political and other intellectual achievements. (c) 2007 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

    Research areas

  • IQ, intelligence, brain size, skull size, MRI, Robert the Bruce, NART, VOLUME

ID: 531067