Dr. Sandra Witelson - Later Academics

“One of the highlights from my point of view” is a 1973 study of anatomical asymmetry (differences in the size of specific brain structures on the right and on the left) in newborns. Dr. Witelson made the pivotal finding that anatomical (and functional) asymmetry of the brain is present at birth.

Though she’s received plenty of media attention for her work with men’s and women’s brains, Dr. Witelson is probably known best for her study of Albert Einstein’s brain. She was approached by the person who had Einstein’s brain removed at autopsy. He wanted her to look for anything exceptional. Dr. Witelson: “Of course I said yes!” So, in 1996 Dr. Witelson began her comparison of Einstein’s brain to those in the Brain Bank. She published The exceptional brain of Albert Einstein in 1999. In it, Dr. Witelson and her co-researchers showed that Einstien’s brain was 15% wider in the inferior parietal region of the brain on both the right and left side. The inferior parietal region of the brain is thought to be related to mathematical thinking and visuospatial intelligence. This particular case study suggests that subtle differences in the brain can have major behavioural correlates!