Brain Responses to Passive Sensory Stimulation Correlate With Intelligence

Anna Horwitz, Marc Klemp, Henrik Horwitz, Mia Dyhr Thomsen, Egill Rostrup, Erik Lykke Mortensen, Merete Osler, Martin Lauritzen, Krisztina Benedek

3 Citations (Scopus)


This study investigates the association between intelligence and brain power responses to a passive audiovisual stimulation. We measure the power of gamma-range steady-state responses (SSRs) as well as intelligence and other aspects of neurocognitive function in 40 healthy males born in 1953. The participants are a part of a Danish birth cohort study and the data therefore include additional information measured earlier in life. Our main power measure is the difference in power between a visual stimulation and a combined audiovisual stimulation. We hypothesize and establish empirically that the power measure is associated with intelligence. In particular, we find a highly significant correlation between the power measure and present intelligence scores. The association is robust to controlling for size-at-birth measures, length of education, speed of processing as well as a range of other potentially confounding factors. Interestingly, we find that intelligence scores measured earlier in life (childhood, youth, late midlife), are also correlated with the present-day power measure, suggesting a deep connection between intelligence and the power measure. Finally, we find that the power measure has a high sensitivity for detection of an intelligence score below the average.

Original languageEnglish
Article number201
JournalFrontiers in Aging Neuroscience
Pages (from-to)201
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Aging
  • EEG
  • Gamma power
  • Intelligence
  • Longitudinal intelligence scores
  • Neurocognitive function
  • Steady-state evoked potentials


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