ISIR has awarded Richard Haier the 2021 Lifetime Achievement Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Field of Intelligence. After obtaining a PhD from Johns Hopkins in 1975 (working in part with Julian Stanley), his was the first study designed to understand the role of brain function – measured with glucose metabolism (using Positron Emission Tomography: PET, in 1988) – during performance of a measure of abstract reasoning. Interestingly, the relationships were inverse, with higher scores being associated with lower glucose metabolism, a finding that became known as the “neural efficiency hypothesis.” He continued work relating both brain structure and function to intelligence, including studies of sex differences, learning, mental effort, and Down Syndrome. This work culminated in publication of a theoretical framework to understand brain relationships to intelligence and reasoning ability – the Parieto-Frontal Integration Theory (P-FIT). These theories (neural efficiency, P-FIT) have provided a critical path from which numerous studies have emerged in the neuroscientific understanding of intelligence.

Dr. Haier has always been a powerful advocate for intelligence research, being one of 52 signatories of the editorial “Mainstream Science on Intelligence” published in the Wall Street Journal (1994), and appearing in popular media including Scientific American, Psychology Today, CNN, BBC, and NOVA Science Now, to correct misperceptions and educate the public regarding this important human capacity. More recently, he created a Great Courses lecture series “The Intelligent Brain,” and has published two books accessible to both layperson and students interested in a deeper understanding of the neuroscience of intelligence (2017: “The Neuroscience of Intelligence”; 2021: “The Cambridge Handbook of Intelligence and Cognitive Neuroscience.) A third book is in the works (“The Science of Human Intelligence”). He is the editor -in-chief of the journal Intelligence and past President of the International Society for Intelligence Research.

View Dr. Haier’s Lifetime Achievement Award Address here: