Consumer & Behavioral Neuroscience

Einstein’s Brain Might Explain His Remarkable Cognitive Abilities

Einstein’s Brain Might Explain His Remarkable Cognitive Abilities

Scientist at Florida State University (my alma mater, yay!) have been examining Einstein’s brain for clues as neuroanatomy may play a role in his amazing cognitive abilities.

The study, “The Cerebral Cortex of Albert Einstein: A Description and Preliminary Analysis of Unpublished Photographs,” was published today, Nov. 16th, in the journal Brain.


When Einstein’s brain was removed after his death, several photographs (14 altogether) were taken of it externally from different angles.  Granted, these were odd angles from a neuroimaging perspective.  But they were done in 1955.  These photographs were compared with 85 “normal” brains. “Roadmaps” were then drawn from the pictures of Einstein’s brain.

What’s the same?

Size and shape of Einstein’s brain seems to be just like the rest of us.

What’s different?

A lot.

“Although the overall size and asymmetrical shape of Einstein’s brain were normal, the prefrontal, somatosensory, primary motor, parietal, temporal and occipital cortices were extraordinary,” said Falk, the Hale G. Smith Professor of Anthropology at Florida State. “These may have provided the neurological underpinnings for some of his visuospatial and mathematical abilities, for instance.”

From the size/shape/asymmetry they can see he was a right-handed adult male. It also appears that earlier reports that his brain was spherical were incorrect.  The expanded prefrontal areas might be why he was able to have such great cognitive abilities and thought experiments.

Pretty cool stuff lending to interesting ideas for evolutionary scientists and comparative neurology.

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This entry was posted on November 17, 2012 by and tagged , , , , .




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