Special Issue "Discussing the Mitochondrial Functioning Theory of General Intelligence"

A special issue of Journal of Intelligence (ISSN 2079-3200).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 May 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Paul De Boeck
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Psychology, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, USA
Faculty of Psychology and Educational Science, KU Leuven, Tiensestraat 102, B-3000 Leuven, Belgium
Interests: item response theory; mixed models; intelligence; personality; individual differences
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Kristof Kovacs
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institute of Psychology, ELTE Eotvos Lorand University, 1075 Budapest, Hungary
Interests: cognitive abilities; working memory; theories of intelligence

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleague,

You may be familiar with David Geary’s article in Psychological Review on “Efficiency of Mitochondrial Functioning as the Fundamental Biological Mechanism of General Intelligence (g)”. David Geary has also written a summary of his article as input (besides his original article) for a discussion the Journal of Intelligence organizes on the nature of intelligence. See https://www.mdpi.com/2079-3200/7/4/25.

This is an invitation to submit a commentary on David Geary’s article and his summary in the Journal of Intelligence.

The discussion issue of the journal with the commentaries are co-edited by Kristof Kovacs and Paul De Boeck. Kristof Kovacs is a senior research fellow at Eotvos Lorand University, Hungary. He has published articles on intelligence; in particular, he co-authored process overlap theory, a recent explanation of the positive manifold of intelligence.

Paul De Boeck is a professor of quantitative psychology at the Ohio State University in Columbus OH. He has published articles on intelligence, and he also is the editor of the open access Journal of Intelligence.

The editors have written an editorial to introduce the Special Discussion Issue of the journal as additional input for the discussion. David Geary will be invited to submit a rejoinder after a set of commentaries is available.

A handicap of our journal is that we do not yet have an impact factor. By submitting a commentary, you support an open access outlet for work on intelligence. We hope that the field will benefit from this kind of pluralism.

Prof. Dr. Paul De Boeck
Dr. Kristof Kovacs
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Journal of Intelligence is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Published Papers (11 papers)

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Editorial

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Editorial
The Many Faces of Intelligence: A Discussion of Geary’s Mitochondrial Functioning Theory on General Intelligence
J. Intell. 2020, 8(1), 8; https://doi.org/10.3390/jintelligence8010008 - 17 Feb 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2701
Abstract
David Geary’s article on intelligence (Geary 2018) and the summary of his theory in Journal of Intelligence offer a refreshing and inspirational view on intelligence [...] Full article

Research

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Article
Mitochondria as the Linchpin of General Intelligence and the Link between g, Health, and Aging
J. Intell. 2019, 7(4), 25; https://doi.org/10.3390/jintelligence7040025 - 25 Nov 2019
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 3508
Abstract
In a recent theoretical article, I proposed that the efficiency of mitochondrial functioning is the most fundamental biological mechanism contributing to individual differences in general intelligence (g; Geary, 2018). The hypothesis accommodates other contributing mechanisms at higher levels of analysis (e.g., [...] Read more.
In a recent theoretical article, I proposed that the efficiency of mitochondrial functioning is the most fundamental biological mechanism contributing to individual differences in general intelligence (g; Geary, 2018). The hypothesis accommodates other contributing mechanisms at higher levels of analysis (e.g., brain networks), and is attractive because mitochondrial energy production undergirds the developmental, maintenance, and expression of these other mechanisms and provides a means to link individual differences in g to individual differences in health and successful aging in adulthood. I provide a brief summation here and a few clarifications to the original article. Full article
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Other

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Reply
Mitochondrial Functions, Cognition, and the Evolution of Intelligence: Reply to Commentaries and Moving Forward
J. Intell. 2020, 8(4), 42; https://doi.org/10.3390/jintelligence8040042 - 08 Dec 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1159
Abstract
In response to commentaries, I address questions regarding the proposal that general intelligence (g) is a manifestation of the functioning of intramodular and intermodular brain networks undergirded by the efficiency of mitochondrial functioning (Geary 2018). The core issues include the relative [...] Read more.
In response to commentaries, I address questions regarding the proposal that general intelligence (g) is a manifestation of the functioning of intramodular and intermodular brain networks undergirded by the efficiency of mitochondrial functioning (Geary 2018). The core issues include the relative contribution of mitochondrial functioning to individual differences in g; studies that can be used to test associated hypotheses; and, the adaptive function of intelligence from an evolutionary perspective. I attempt to address these and related issues, as well as note areas in which other issues remain to be addressed. Full article
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Opinion
Neuroenergetics and “General Intelligence”: A Systems Biology Perspective
J. Intell. 2020, 8(3), 31; https://doi.org/10.3390/jintelligence8030031 - 26 Aug 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2363
Abstract
David C. Geary proposed the efficiency of mitochondrial processes, especially the production of energy, as the most fundamental biological mechanism contributing to individual differences in general intelligence (g). While the efficiency of mitochondrial functioning is undoubtedly an important and highly interesting [...] Read more.
David C. Geary proposed the efficiency of mitochondrial processes, especially the production of energy, as the most fundamental biological mechanism contributing to individual differences in general intelligence (g). While the efficiency of mitochondrial functioning is undoubtedly an important and highly interesting factor, I outline several reasons why other main factors of neuroenergetics should not be neglected and why a systems biology perspective should be adopted. There are many advantages for research on intelligence to focus on individual differences in the capability of the overall brain metabolism system to produce the energy currency adenosine triphosphate (ATP): higher predictive strength than single mechanisms, diverse possibilities for experimental manipulation, measurement with existing techniques and answers to unresolved questions because of multiple realizability. Many of these aspects are especially important for research on developmental processes and the building and refining of brain networks for adaptation. Focusing too much on single parts of the system, like the efficiency of mitochondrial functioning, carries the danger of missing important information about the role of neuroenergetics in intelligence and valuable research opportunities. Full article
Commentary
The Evidence for Geary’s Theory on the Role of Mitochondrial Functioning in Human Intelligence Is Not Entirely Convincing
J. Intell. 2020, 8(3), 29; https://doi.org/10.3390/jintelligence8030029 - 20 Jul 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1859
Abstract
Geary (2018, 2019) suggested that heritable and environmentally caused differences in mitochondrial functioning affect the integrity and efficiency of neurons and supporting glia cells and may thus contribute to individual differences in higher-order cognitive functioning and physical health. In our comment, we want [...] Read more.
Geary (2018, 2019) suggested that heritable and environmentally caused differences in mitochondrial functioning affect the integrity and efficiency of neurons and supporting glia cells and may thus contribute to individual differences in higher-order cognitive functioning and physical health. In our comment, we want to pose three questions aimed at different aspects of Geary’s theory that critically evaluate his theory in the light of evidence from neurocognitive, cognitive enhancement, and behavioral genetics research. We question (1) if Geary’s theory explains why certain cognitive processes show a stronger age-related decline than others; (2) if intervention studies in healthy younger adults support the claim that variation in mitochondrial functioning underlies variation in human intelligence; and (3) if predictions arising from the matrilineal heredity of mitochondrial DNA are supported by behavioral genetics research. We come to the conclusion that there are likely many more biological and social factors contributing to variation in human intelligence than mitochondrial functioning. Full article
Commentary
The Mitochondrial Theory of g Is Incompatible with Genetic Evidence and Does Not Explain Statistical Phenomena
J. Intell. 2020, 8(3), 27; https://doi.org/10.3390/jintelligence8030027 - 28 Jun 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2111
Abstract
In two recent reviews (Geary 2018, 2019), Geary attributed a substantial role in generating individual differences in the general factor of intelligence, g, to mitochondrial functioning [...] Full article
Commentary
Déjà vu All Over Again: A Unitary Biological Mechanism for Intelligence Is (Probably) Untenable
J. Intell. 2020, 8(2), 24; https://doi.org/10.3390/jintelligence8020024 - 02 Jun 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2441
Abstract
Nearly a century ago, Spearman proposed that “specific factors can be regarded as the ‘nuts and bolts’ of cognitive performance…, while the general factor is the mental energy available to power the specific engines”. Geary (2018; 2019) takes Spearman’s analogy of “mental energy” [...] Read more.
Nearly a century ago, Spearman proposed that “specific factors can be regarded as the ‘nuts and bolts’ of cognitive performance…, while the general factor is the mental energy available to power the specific engines”. Geary (2018; 2019) takes Spearman’s analogy of “mental energy” quite literally and doubles-down on the notion by proposing that a unitary energy source, the mitochondria, explains variations in both cognitive function and health-related outcomes. This idea is reminiscent of many earlier attempts to describe a low-level biological determinant of general intelligence. While Geary does an admirable job developing an innovative theory with specific and testable predictions, this new theory suffers many of the shortcomings of previous attempts at similar goals. We argue that Geary’s theory is generally implausible, and does not map well onto known psychological and genetic properties of intelligence or its relationship to health and fitness. While Geary’s theory serves as an elegant model of “what could be”, it is less successful as a description of “what is”. Full article
Commentary
Turtles All the Way Down: From g to Mitochondrial Functioning
J. Intell. 2020, 8(2), 23; https://doi.org/10.3390/jintelligence8020023 - 21 May 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1981
Abstract
Geary (2018, 2019) theorizes that the efficiency of mitochondrial functioning is the fundamental biological mechanism that affects the organism as a whole and is common to all brain and cognitive processes [...] Full article
Commentary
Mitochondrial Functioning ≠ General Intelligence
J. Intell. 2020, 8(2), 20; https://doi.org/10.3390/jintelligence8020020 - 03 May 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2523
Abstract
Geary puts forward an appealing argument for the consideration of mitochondrial functioning as a candidate for a formative g Geary (2019); it is also an ambitious argument [...] Full article
Commentary
Mitochondrial Functioning and Its Relation to Higher-Order Cognitive Processes
J. Intell. 2020, 8(2), 14; https://doi.org/10.3390/jintelligence8020014 - 01 Apr 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2578
Abstract
One of the most replicated findings in psychology is the positive manifold between cognitive ability measures (Jensen 1998; Spearman 1904) [...] Full article
Commentary
How Mighty Are the Mitochondria in Causing Individual Differences in Intelligence?—Some Questions for David Geary
J. Intell. 2020, 8(1), 13; https://doi.org/10.3390/jintelligence8010013 - 17 Mar 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2920
Abstract
David Geary (2019) has written a summary of his fascinating Psychological Review article on the purported role of the mitochondria in the development of intelligence (Geary 2018) [...] Full article
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