Brain Size

  • Harry J. Jerison
Part of the Readings from the Encyclopedia of Neuroscience book series (REN)


The gross weight or volume of an adult mammalian brain is a natural biological statistic that estimates fundamental between-species parameters of structure and function. Among the relationships that have been discovered, the best established and most important is between brain weight and the surface area of the entire cerebral cortex. It shows that brain size may be used to estimate the total neural information processing capacity of a species. Other quantitative features of the brain that are related to brain size include the number of cortical neurons, average cortical thickness, average neuron density, extent of axodendritic arborization, neuron/glial ratios, and various neurochemical measures.


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Further reading

Reviews and symposia

  1. Armstrong E, Falk D, eds (1982): Primate Brain Evolution: Methods and Concepts. New York and London: PlenumGoogle Scholar
  2. Blinkov SM, Glezer II (1968): The Human Brain in Figures and Tables. New York: Basic Books PlenumGoogle Scholar
  3. Hahn ME, Jensen C, Dudek BC, eds. (1979): Development and Evolution of Brain Size: Behavioral Implications. New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  4. Jenson HJ (1985): Issues in brain evolution. Oxford Surveys Evol Biol 2:102–134.Google Scholar
  5. Leiblich I, ed. (1983): Genetics of the Brain. New York and London: ElsevierGoogle Scholar
  6. Wimer RE, Wimer CC (1985): Animal behavior genetics: A search for the biological foundations of behavior. Ann Rev Psychol 36:171–218.CrossRefGoogle Scholar


  1. Hofman MA (1984): Towards a General Theory of Encephalization. Amsterdam: RodopiGoogle Scholar
  2. Jenson HJ (1973): Evolution of the Brain and Intelligence. New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar

Application of brain size

  1. Ball MJ, MacGregor J, Fyfe IM, Rapoport SI, London ED (1983): Paucity of morphological changes in the brains of ageing beagle dogs: Further evidence that Alzheimer lesions are unique for primate central nervous system. Neurobiol Ageing 4:127–131.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Nellhouse G (1968): Head circumference from birth to eighteen years. Pediatrics 41:106–114.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Harry J. Jerison

There are no affiliations available

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