A person's intelligence levels may be dependent upon the environment they are in, according to a new study. Researchers at Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute found that small-group dynamics can alter a susceptible person's IQ. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging to investigate how the brain processes information about social status and how this affects cognitive capacity, it was found that a person's ability to solve problems can drop dramatically because of social feedback. Read Montague, leader of the study, explained: "You may joke about how committee meetings make you feel brain dead, but our findings suggest that they may make you act brain dead as well." According to the lead author of the paper, Kenneth Kishidi, the findings highlight the consequences even subtle social signals can have on cognitive function. The study also suggests how environment can impact upon mental development. There has been much debate as to how far external factors impact upon intelligence. Some believe that intelligence is based on neural circuits that require environmental stimulation for development, while others assert that intelligence is heritable and not open to change by external factors. Find the nearest Barchester care home.