Albert Einstein was unique in that the corpus callosum that connects both sides of his brain had high density connections that further led to a higher level of thinking and creativity. Researchers from Weiwei Men of East China Normal University and Dean Falk from Florida State University studied his preserved brain and found that the thickness of his corpus callosum was much greater than others, indicating additional nerve connections.
Previous research has shown that the interconnectivity of the brain and the ability to process from differentiated locations can create higher levels of thinking and creativity. It is considered a gifted trait whereby the holders have higher than average ability to learn and can use this processing power to create new and unique connections among various forms of information. This is what leads to scientific breakthroughs.
Research on intelligence has also shown the varying forms in which some people excel and learn is based in their processing abilities. Depending on what theory one uses it is possible to see Einstein’s large fluid intelligence working within his memory. This allowed him to dream, connect, and then delve into the varying aspects of his scientific explorations. One must first see the possibility and then construct the pieces that make it real.
Preconscious understanding is different than conscious understanding. In Einstein’s case the dreaming may have created an important preconscious connection of varying forms of information that eventual led to awareness. It was this awareness of the possibility of relative motion that allowed Einstein to systematically test the concept to come up with his theory of relativity.
Depending on which one of the eight forms of intelligence, as proposed by Gardner, one excels at may depend on the size and strength of certain areas of the brain. In Einstein’s case this may be more associated with the spatial and mathematical portions. Other geniuses may have different skills based in their neural connections that could enhance their skills in sports, social interaction, or word choice.
The very way in which he thought about science and his cognitive flexibility can be summed up as follows:
“So many people today—and even professional scientists—seem to me like somebody who has seen thousands of trees but has never seen a forest. A knowledge of the historic and philosophical background gives that kind of independence from prejudices of his generation from which most scientists are suffering. This independence created by philosophical insight is—in my opinion—the mark of distinction between a mere artisan or specialist and a real seeker after truth.”
You may read the full 2013 study results: