Does genius have a hormonal component?

March 11, 2011 at 8:20 PM

EDMONTON, Alberta, March 11 (UPI) -- The debate on whether genius comes from good genes or a good environment has had a new factor put in the mix -- it may be hormones, a Canadian scientist says.

University of Alberta researcher Marty Mrazik says being smart may be the result of an excess level of a natural hormone, a UA release reported Friday.

Mrazik say he has found a link between giftedness --having an IQ score of 130 or higher -- and prenatal exposure to higher levels of testosterone.

In the same way physical and cognitive deficiencies can be developed in utero, so too could similar exposure to this naturally occurring chemical result in giftedness, he theorizes.

"There seems to be some evidence that excessive prenatal exposure to testosterone facilitates increased connections in the brain, especially in the right prefrontal cortex," Mrazik said.

Mrazik hypothesizes this hormonal "glitch" in the in-utero neurobiological development means gifted children are born with an affinity for certain areas such as the arts, math or science.

He cautions, however, that more research is needed to determine what exact processes may cause the development of the gifted brain.

"It's really hard to say what does put the brain in a pathway where it's going to be much more precocious," he said. "The next steps in this research lay in finding out what exact stimuli causes this atypical brain development."

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