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->'''Azmuth:''' Are you inferring that you're smarter than me because your head is bigger?\\
'''Brainstorm:''' No, I'm '''''implying''''' that I'm smarter than you because my ''brain'' is bigger.
-->-- ''WesternAnimation/Ben10AlienForce''

What's a fast way to clue the audience into a character's SuperIntelligence, either inborn or suddenly-gained? Why, give them a swollen (and often hairless) cranium, apparently housing a grossly enlarged brain. Variants include the head being fissured like a human brain, or the [[PleaseKeepYourHatOn enlarged brain being exposed]]. The head may or may not pulsate, sometimes more like a heart than a brain, and the rest of the body be comparatively weak and underdeveloped. Often related to EvolutionaryLevels or dubious experiments done ForScience May involve the development of PsychicPowers if it's [[BrainCriticalMass big enough]].

This is also sometimes used as a generic "alien trait" and not a specific indicator of intelligence. TheGreys are a prominent example.

While this may seem like TruthInTelevision, since animals with larger brains do tend to have a higher intellect than those with smaller cerebra, it turns out that intelligence is much more complicated than that (otherwise blue whales, with brains the size of fully-grown adult humans, would be the most intelligent species on the planet). Turns out that intelligence is a function not so much of how large an organism's brain is, but how densely interconnected it is. The denser the brain tissue and the more neural pathways within an organism's brain, the higher its intellect. Obviously, however, a larger brain does have more room for such connections, but it's not as straightforward as this trope would have you believe.

See Also ForeheadOfDoom, which may be used to show this in a more realistic light. May sometimes overlap with BrainMonster if played for horror.



[[folder: Anime and Manga ]]
* ''Manga/{{Berserk}}'': The demonic God Hand member Void has a giant, nightmarish exposed brain coming out of his head. It's not just for show, since he is the oldest, wisest, and most philosophical member of the God Hand as well as their leader.
* ''Anime/MacrossDoYouRememberLove'' retcons ''Anime/SuperDimensionFortressMacross''[='s=] Exedore/Exsedol into this, apparently to visually emphasize his role as an archivist and advisor; ''Anime/Macross7'' also uses his ''DYRL?'' design (in contrast, the ''{{Anime/Robotech}}'' continuity ignores it in favor of his original ''SDF'' design).
* The Franchise/{{Digimon}} [[http://wikimon.net/Vadermon Vademon]]
* ''Manga/MahouSenseiNegima'':
** Yue, although her intelligence isn't shown immediately due to a serious case of BrilliantButLazy.
** Hakase, who is also a MadScientist, is a more straight example.
* Guldo, the psychic member of the Ginyu Force from ''Manga/DragonBallZ''. For that matter Ginyu himself has the look. [[spoiler: And turns out to have a psychic ability of his own.]]
* Inverted in ''Manga/DragonHalf'': [[DumbMuscle Damaramu]] has a ''small'' brain, making him not too bright. This actually works in his favor when he accidentally sticks his own LaserBlade through his head; his brain only got nicked.

[[folder: Comic Books ]]
* Franchise/{{DCU}} examples:
** The Ultra Humanite's albino gorilla form
** Evil telepath and Fearsome Five member Psimon has his exposed brain covered by a clear shell. In ''ComicBook/SalvationRun'' [[spoiler: SelfDemonstrating/TheJoker can't help but smash it]].
** ''Franchise/GreenLantern'' villain Hector Hammond's brain is huge -- to the point that his neck can't support it. As such, he's confined to a special chair. Over the last few years, he's gone from "unusually large, ovoid head" to "big square head twice the size of the rest of his body."
** The ''Comicbook/LegionOfSuperHeroes'' guest-star Evolvo Lad (Evolvo in the reboot) has a head that actually ''gets bigger and smaller'' when he uses his powers. Does Freud know about this guy?
** The fake [[http://dc.wikia.com/wiki/Action_Comics_Vol_1_256 "Superman of the Future"]] from Action Comics #256.
** [[http://www.comiccollectorlive.com/LiveData/Issue.aspx?id=95ced61d-68bd-426f-be1f-930f49baa633 It happened to Jimmy Olsen.]]
** [[http://politedissent.com/archives/615 And Lois Lane.]]
** [[http://www.superdickery.com/beware-the-super-genius-baby/ The Super-Genius Baby.]]
** [[http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-qEarUlzbBcU/UfvcNmqc3WI/AAAAAAAAZc0/-owdxgBwiSo/s1600/sm+ann+2-05.jpg The Blessed]] in the Brainiac Psi-War storyline.
* Franchise/MarvelUniverse examples:
** The Leader, one of the ComicBook/IncredibleHulk's main villains, whose ComicBook/UltimateMarvel version combines this with a totally useless body. He even needs a metal frame to keep his head from snapping his neck. While other gamma radiation mutated characters had their physical strength enhanced, the Leader instead was given SuperIntelligence.
** ComicBook/{{MODOK}} (a [[GeneticEngineeringIsTheNewNuke genetically-enhanced human]] designed as a biological super-computer) takes this to an extreme - [[{{Cephalothorax}} most of his 'body' is actually his head and the power chair which holds it steady]]. It proves to be so intelligent that it [[PhlebotinumRebel takes over the organization that created it]].
** Brainchild, the ringleader of the Savage Land Mutates. He's also short, skinny, and physically feeble.
** Uatu the Watcher. In his first appearance, his head was only slightly out of proportion with the rest of his body, but his design evolved until he was a tall skinny man whose head made up half his body mass.[[note]]At least one issue of ''ComicBook/{{Quasar}}'' suggests that Watchers are capable of {{voluntary shapeshifting}} to an unknown extent when one tries to intimidate the eponymous hero by "assuming a more formidable aspect".[[/note]]
** The Futurist and Alpha the Ultimate Mutant were both [[EvolutionaryLevels hyper-evolved]] into bighead superintelligence. This is lampshaded when they are both prisoners on an alien planet and become friends.
** Yuri Topolov, a [[SovietSuperScience Soviet scientist]], was mutated into a big-headed dwarf and, becoming an EvilGenius, called himself the Gargoyle. [[ComicBook/IncredibleHulk Bruce Banner]] actually managed to cure him, though, and a grateful Topolov [[RedemptionEqualsDeath sacrificed himself]] to ensure Banner's safe return to America.
*** Yuri's [[LegacyCharacter son Kondrati]], who inherited his father's deformity (and capacity for EvilGenius), chose to [[MisBlamed blame the Hulk]] for his father's death, and became the villainous Gremlin. As the second Titanium Man, he died during ComicBook/IronMan's ''Armor Wars'' rampage.
** Villainous [[PsychicPowers telepathic]] mutant Mind-Scan (who, considering her usual tactic, could have just as appropriately been called [[MindRape Mind-Rape]]), in the original ''ComicBook/GuardiansOfTheGalaxy'', appears to have a red BeehiveHairdo in her first few appearances. At one point, she has to remove her wig...[[http://www.comicvine.com/mindscan/4005-26627/ revealing a swollen, lumpy, veiny skull underneath.]] ''Ewww''.
** Reed Richards did this to himself once in ''ComicBook/FantasticFour: 1234'' by Creator/GrantMorrison. In order to defeat Doctor Doom in a 4-dimensional chess game that was threatening to destroy the Fantastic Four, Reed used his stretching powers to literally grow new structures in his brain in order to out-think Doom.
* The Mekon of Mekonta, arch-villain of the British ''ComicStrip/DanDare'' comics (once the page image), specially bred to be his civilization's Supreme Scientist and ruler, exemplifies this trope with his huge head and withered body.
* An early storyline in Bongo's ''ComicBook/TheSimpsons'' comics had most of the cast becoming superheroes; Maggie became "Brainbaby".
* ''DNAgents'' villains Ape-X and Doctor Vlasov both had huge craniums; Vlasov's was under a huge glass bubble helmet for full {{Squick}}y visibility.
* ''ComicBook/EMan'' 's first foe, The Brain From Sirius, was ''nothing but'' a gigantic BrainInAJar the size of a house!
* Appropriately, this is the appearance of [[spoiler: Veidt's fake alien]] in ''ComicBook/{{Watchmen}}''.
* One of Charon's "ligis-bearers" in ''Negation'' has a big brain. By an amazing coincidence, he's also the team's telepath.
* Miguel Angel Martin's ''[[http://www.coniglioeditore.it/jom/components/com_virtuemart/shop_image/product/The_Complete_Bri_4a68853839b8a.jpg Brian the Brain.]]''
* ''ComicBook/{{Zombo}}'': Mr. Critic on the TV satellite has an oversized head because he had his brain replaced with a supercomputer.
* Zodon from ''ComicBook/PS238''.
* The cover story in issue 93 of ''Tales of the Unexpected'' involved this guy who invented an "evolution-devolution" ray then accidentally got caught in both beams at once, resulting in his head "evolving" into larger and more grotesque versions while his body was "devolving" into that of a prehistoric man/ape/etc. Eventually, his brain became so super-advanced that he was able to repair the broken device telepathically.
* In ''ComicBook/AllFallDown'', IQ and IQ Squared had extra-large heads while they were super-geniuses. Their craniums were reduced to normal in The Fall.
* Played straight in ''ComicBook/{{Invincible}}'' with Angstrom Levy, after an accident left him with brains bulging out of his skull (and two more on his ''shoulders'', though he had those removed with surgery).
* In ''Big Bang Comics'', the Pantheon of Heroes mirrors the Legion of Super-Heroes; their equivalent of Brainiac 5 is Brain Boy, whose bald head holds a huge brain. Thinking hard enough makes it get even bigger.
* This happens to Dr. Boifard, one of the two creators of Frank Einstein, aka ''ComicBook/MadMan'', when he starts using an intelligence increasing drug of his own design. Unfortunately, this ends up in BodyHorror levels when his entire head becomes a massive swollen blob of brain-tissue that needs medical technology to preserve his life and which can't communicate with anybody because his body is too weak to use his vocal cords.
* In Creator/AlanMoore's "Abelard Snazz" stories in ''[[Comicbook/TwoThousandAD 2000 AD]]'', Snazz is known as "The Man With The Two-Storey Brain" (also "Multi-Storey Mind" and "Double-Decker Dome"). He does have [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abelard_Snazz#/media/File:Abelard_snazz.png hair on his enlarged cranium]] though, as well as ExtraEyes.
* Wobbly-Headed Bob, a side character in Creator/JhonenVasquez's SQUEE! series. Sadly, his freakishly overdeveloped brain brings him only sadness and contempt for his fellow beings.

* ''Fanfic/{{Kitsune}}'': Tome. Highly intelligent, a wizard, a psychic, and having an extra four to six inches of cranium over the normal.

[[folder:Films -- Animated]]
* WesternAnimation/{{Megamind}}. One of the taglines was "It's big for a reason."

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* ''Film/ThisIslandEarth'':
** The iconic Metalunan Mutants.
** Their humanoid masters might also qualify as a more subdued example of the "super-smart" type, or possibly an inversion, as the Mutant didn't seem to be very smart.
* ''Film/InvasionOfTheSaucerMen''
* Explicitly invoked in ''Film/MarsAttacks''
* In ''Film/SkyHigh2005'' Dr. Medulla, who teaches Mad Science, has a huge head.
* The Film/{{Coneheads}} are extremely intelligent and have huge heads shaped like cones.
* In the 1969 movie ''Film/TheBrain'', Creator/DavidNiven plays the role of the master criminal known as '''The Brain'''. While his head isn't any larger than normal, his brain is apparently so heavy that when he is stressed out, his head falls to one side.
* Although we never actually see it, it's the reason for Film/JoeDirt 's mullet--his skull is malformed due to a birth defect, leaving a small bit of brain exposed. A hairpiece was used to conceal it, [[SquIck and his soft spot just kind of grew over part of the wig]].
* ''[[Film/TheTimeMachine2002 The Time Machine]]'' (2002). The Uber-Morlock -- rather than have the usual huge head, his brain extended down the neck and lower back.
* ''Film/StarshipTroopers3Marauder''. The huge brain bug that takes up an entire planet, "Brain of Brains," also known as "Behemecoatyl".
-->"The bug is big."

* In Edmond Hamilton's ''The Man Who Evolved'', a scientist has [[ArtisticLicenseBiology accelerated his own evolution]]. Five examples are shown; first a giant human, then two cases of the trope, then a naked brain.
* ''Literature/LastAndFirstMen'':
** Taken to its logical conclusion where the Fourth human species were basically giant, immobile brains. They were created as the equivalent of computers, [[AIIsACrapshoot and naturally rebelled against their creators.]] But in an interesting subversion, having wiped out the Third species they realized that their intellectual powers were crippled by the lack of bodies and created a Fifth species that was closer to natural humanity.
** Earlier in the novel, we meet the Second human species early in their evolution, when they had evolved larger brains than the First Men (that would be us) but unfortunately hadn't yet evolved larger skulls. It basically drove their entire species insane and almost wiped them out, leaving behind only a very twisted literary corpus for future generations.
* ''Literature/JohnCarterOfMars'':
** One of the books, ''Chessmen of Mars'', gave us the Kaldanes, who look like oversized heads with crab legs and tend to travel around on rykors, creatures that look like idealized human bodies without heads. The result appears as this trope.
** In "The Giant of Mars", the novella forming the first half of the final book in the series, this trope is inverted with Pew Mogel, an EvilGenius ArtificialHuman, who keeps his brain elsewhere and thus has a ridiculously tiny head.
* Used horrifically in C.S. Lewis' ''[[Literature/TheSpaceTrilogy That Hideous Strength]]'', where the evil scientists [[spoiler:have taken the head of an executed criminal and are keeping it alive(-ish) it to channel demonic forces; they've removed the top of the head and its "augmented" brains are bulging out over the top, pulsating under membrane]]. [[ThisIsWrongOnSoManyLevels AAARGH]].
* Used by Creator/HGWells when he designed ''Literature/TheWarOfTheWorlds'' Martians.
* It's a plot point in ''Evolution's End'', a 1941 short story by Robert Arthur. In a far future, humans have evolved into huge-headed, hyperintelligent and [[StrawVulcan emotionally devoid]] beings. One of them invents a machine that accelerates evolution, tries it on some volunteers and is horrified to discover [[spoiler:that in 100,000 years human brains will grow big enough to collapse under their weight]]. Also a textbook example of EvolutionaryLevels.
* The Franchise/StarWarsExpandedUniverse has the [[http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Columi Columi,]] a species with giant heads, tiny bodies, and limbs so small and useless they need hoverchairs just to move around. When Columi explorers first reached human-populated worlds, they immediately returned home [[HumansAreMorons in disappointment at having found no intelligent life]].
* [[Literature/JeevesAndWooster Jeeves's]] head bulges out slightly at the back, and Bertie believes that this is a sign of his intelligence. He also attributes the size of Sir Roderick Glossop's head, which resembles "the dome of St. Paul's", to his vast intellect: "I suppose he must have taken about a nine or something in hats. Shows what a rotten thing it is to let your brain develop too much.
* Similarly, in "The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle," Franchise/SherlockHolmes deduces that the owner of a certain hat must be an intellectual because his head is bigger than Holmes's.
-->It is a question of [[ScienceMarchesOn cubic capacity]]. A man with so large a brain must have something in it.
* Subverted in ''Literature/{{MARZENA}}'', don't go thinking that you can just build up a giant robotic brain and create super intelligence, warns Anika From Bremen in one of her many [[MohsScaleOfScienceFictionHardness scientific proses]]. Giant Brains only mean more coordinations between data, to become more intelligence one needs to raise the ratio of Astroglial cells in the Cortex, which doesn't have anything to do with size.
* Super-mutant Ribald Corello in ''Literature/PerryRhodan'': big head, child-sized body, physically pretty much helpless without his glider chair that's all but a self-contained vehicle complete with life support and weapons, but acknowledged as one of the most powerful psychics mankind ever produced. Starts as a villain obsessed with conquest [[OedipusComplex and his dead-but-preserved mother]], but pulls a HeelFaceTurn later.
* Nocturnomaths in WalterMoers' ''Zamonia'' novels are a variation: they have multiple brains, which make them highly intelligent and telepathic to boot. The actual number of brains varies between individuals: three is the norm, but very brilliant nocturnomaths may have four or five, and Professor Abdullah Nightingale -- arguably the greatest genius in Zamonian history -- is rumored to have seven.
* In the Literature/RevelationSpace series, the larger heads of those who've chosen to enhance their intelligence are actually due to the need to cool the faster-running brain, hence a dinosaur-like heat fin on their head.

[[folder: Live Action TV ]]
* The Talosians of ''Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries'', parodied in the ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'' example below.
** [[Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine DS9]] gives us the (Never seen) Gallamite race. Said to possess brains twice the size of humans. Which is visible through their see-through skulls.
* This was one of the forms of John Crichton in the "My Three Crichtons" episode of ''Series/{{Farscape}}''.
* [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Sixth_Finger "The Sixth Finger"]] episode of ''Series/TheOuterLimits1963''.
* Some second season episode of ''Series/SpaceCases''.
* ''Series/DoctorWho'':
** The inhabitants of Logopolis, in the classic serial [[Recap/DoctorWhoS18E7Logopolis of the same name.]]
** In the new series, the Daleks display this trope on the occasions when we get a look inside the casing. A Dalek appears to be nothing ''but'' a brain with a single eye and some tentacles.
** In ''Daleks in Manhattan''/''Evolution of the Daleks'', Dalek Sec becomes a Dalek/Human hybrid with a large exposed brain.
** Another episode has the Doctor suggest this trope while he's berating himself for missing a vital piece of information. "Ah! I'm thick! Look at me, I'm old and thick! Head's too full of stuff! I need a bigger head!"
** The Cyber-Controller in the original series has an extended dome rising from its head. (The new series Cyber-Controller has an exposed brain in a normal-sized head.)
* In the ''Series/ANTFarm'' fantasy Halloween episodes, Olive's monstrous form is a mad scientist with a massive bald cranium.
* The Asgard from ''Series/StargateSG1''.
* ''Series/LoisAndClark'' has Dr. "Fat Head" UsefulNotes/{{Mensa}}, who uses [[NinetyPercentOfYourBrain Ninety Percent Of His Brain]]
* Happens temporarily to [[ButtMonkey Xander]] as the result of a "spell of intelligence" in ''Series/PowerRangersMysticForce''. It was depicted with a fishlens effect distorting part of the actor's head instead of prosthetics.
* {{Invoked|Trope}} in an episode of the ''Series/HoneyIShrunkTheKids'' TV series. One of Wayne's inventions gives his son Nick the ability to [[LiquidAssets absorb other people's intelligence]], and the extra smarts [[DumbIsGood obviously]] turn him into an EvilGenius. At a point, Nick reverses his dad's ShrinkRay to enlarge his brain, as he needs extra room for all the stolen brainpower.
* The Bighead tribe in ''Series/TheLegendOfDickAndDom'' all have huge heads; their society is ordered by intelligence, and the leader's head is so big he has to have minions supporting it.
* Parodied with The Head in the sci-fi comedy ''Series/{{Quark}}'', the huge-headed alien who gives Quark his assignments. He appears to have no body at all, and frequently complains about the big headaches that accompany being a big thinker.
* A recurring skit on ''Series/TheTonightShow'' during JayLeno 's run was "Mr. Brain", in which Jay would answer audience questions in the character of a very smart person. He was shot with a lens that distorted his head to make it look much bigger.


* December 1953 edition of ''MechanixIlustrated'' magazine. In the article "How Nuclear Radiation Can Change Our Race", Otto Binder speculated that the radiation from a nuclear war might cause mutations that could lead to the creation of a new species, Homo Superior. Among other differences, they would have brains (and heads) 50% larger than a normal human's. See the original article here: [[http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/binder1-620x467.jpg page 1,]] [[http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/binder2.jpg page 2,]] [[http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/binder3.jpg page 3]] and [[http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/binder4.jpg page 4.]]

[[folder: Newspaper Comics ]]
* ''ComicStrip/CalvinAndHobbes'': In one arc this is an "unanticipated physiological consequence" of the thinking cap Calvin uses to give himself an intelligence boost. Strangely, this doesn't seem to alarm his parents. Then again, they never notice anything, anyway.
* ''ComicStrip/{{Dilbert}}'':
** Dogbert once tried to invoke this. He ended up tying meat to his sides to fake it.
** The representative of UsefulNotes/{{Mensa}} is naturally big-brained.
** And let's not forget Brainella: the reference-librarian whom Dilbert took on a date once.
** Wally has a dream in which he mocks the PointyHairedBoss to his face for urging his staff to "work smarter, not harder." Wally says he never realized he could simply will himself to become smarter. "Watch me add a few brain cells right now," he says, flexing and grunting. His cranium grows, and he's [[ScrewLearningIHavePhlebotinum suddenly able]] to speak [[SmartPeopleKnowLatin Latin]]. Then he grows his brain some more, and decides he's too smart to work there and should be a consultant instead.
* ''ComicStrip/TheFarSide'':
** One comic had the cops rushing into the villain's headquarters, which had your typical example as well as some huge-bodied, tiny-headed mooks and shouting, "Who's the brains of this operation?" And [[http://grottoazzurro.typepad.com/the_blue_grotto/images/2007/09/03/far_side.jpg here it is.]]
** In another strip, Larson [[InvertedTrope inverted]] it, by having a student with a head half the size of everyone else asking to be excused from class because his "brain was full".
** And in another inversion, a stegosaurus lectures other dinosaurs:
--> "The picture's pretty bleak, gentlemen. ... the world's climates are changing, the mammals are taking over, and we all have a brain about the size of a walnut."
* ''ComicStrip/FoxTrot'' shows us [[http://www.gocomics.com/foxtrot/2003/05/25 the dangers of finals week]]. Bonus points for Jason managing to [[InvokedTrope invoke]] [[MySkullRunnethOver two]] [[YourHeadASplode more]] tropes and make a ShoutOut in a single sentence.
** Parodied in a sequence where Paige lets Jason tutor her in math. Jason shows up wearing an "external brain" hat, much to Paige's annoyance ("Your brain'll be external, all right...").
* ''ComicStrip/{{Drabble}}'': Drabble's father Ralph can't figure out how to turn on their new TV so he starts reading books. As a result [[http://www.gocomics.com/drabble/2013/03/07#mutable_894717 his head starts expanding]] [[http://www.gocomics.com/drabble/2013/03/08#mutable_895250 to accommodate his expanding brain.]] [[http://www.gocomics.com/drabble/2013/03/09#mutable_895632 Unfortunately he gets so smart that he learns how to turn on the new TV and he loses his expanded brain/head.]]
* A one-panel comic had a UsefulNotes/{{Mensa}} convention with two guys enraptured with a woman's large head, and she is saying "Ahem, guys - [[MyEyesAreUpHere my breasts are down here]]."

* The alien leaders in ''Pinball/{{Firepower}}'' have oversized wrinkled heads.
* Both ''Pinball/AttackFromMars'' and ''Pinball/RevengeFromMars'' feature four-armed aliens with wrinkly oversized heads.

[[folder: Tabletop Games ]]
* ''TabletopGame/{{Mortasheen}}'' subverts this with the [[http://www.bogleech.com/mortasheen/abcoulix.htm Abcoulix,]] which has a giant brain not for purposes of intelligence, but rather for the purpose of generating electricity, as the Abcoulix was designed as an organic battery. This is played straight, however, for [[http://www.bogleech.com/mortasheen/krankenhyde.htm Krankenhyde.]]
* ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'':
** Tyranid Zoanthropes have stunted bodies with tiny vestigial limbs and a [[Franchise/{{Alien}} xenomorph]]-like head with extra brain sticking out the back. It uses its psychic powers to float around and act as psionic artillery.
* {{Double Subver|sion}}ted with the Orks. Their brains are bigger but are less intelligent than humans. However, [[LargeAndInCharge the larger ones]] are more intelligent than the smaller ones.
* The Columi in the first ''Franchise/StarWars'' RPG.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Champions}}'' adventure ''V.O.I.C.E. of Doom''. The supervillain Le Maistre has a bulging head, is highly intelligent and has psychic powers.
* In ''TabletopGame/{{GURPS}}'', using Brain Tissue Grafts (from the Bio-Tech sourcebook) to increase your intelligence has the side effect of giving you a bulgy forehead. For a more cinematic option, there's the Genius Machine in Warehouse 23; the higher setting replaces the user's cranium with a big transparent dome, giving others a good view of his pulsating rebuilt brain.
* ''Franchise/{{Ghostbusters}}'' RPG adventure ''Hot Rods of the Gods''. If a Ghostbusters fires his proton pack at Meera at the same time as Meera shoots at him with the red devolvo ray, it will [[ReversePolarity reverse the polarity]], causing the Ghostbuster to evolve into a superior being with increased intelligence and a large head.

[[folder: Video Games ]]
* Blitzkreig from ''VideoGame/FreedomForce vs The Third Reich'' not only has pulsing veins across his head, they [[PowerGlows glow]] due to his PsychicPowers.
* The Psilons ([[Series/BattlestarGalactica1978 no relation]]) from the ''VideoGame/MasterOfOrion'' series.
* Averted in the ''Franchise/ResidentEvil'' series. Lickers have a large, exposed brain but while they're more intelligent than the zombies they were made from (to the point where they can follow orders), this isn't saying much.
* The Spider Mastermind and the Arachnotrons from ''VideoGame/{{Doom}}'' and ''VideoGame/DoomII''.
* The BFB from ''VideoGame/MDK2''.
* Two of the cosmetic head items for [[TheSmartGuy the Engineer]] in VideoGame/TeamFortress2 are a large, bulging Frankenstein Monster-style head, and a hairstyle which exposes his brain connected to machines and valves.
* ''Franchise/{{Metroid}}'' has Mother Brain, who is the leader of the Space Pirates in the installments where she shows up, and she's a giant BrainInAJar.
* ''VideoGame/RatchetAndClankUpYourArsenal'':
** Dr. Nefarious, before he was a robot, at least.
** Also, the Terachnoids from ''VideoGame/RatchetAndClankFutureACrackInTime'' ... Who actually have multiple brains. They've been voted smartest race in the universe for 3,000 years, and weakest race for 4,000 years.
* ''VideoGame/HalfLife1'':
** The Nihilanth. There are also similar enemies called Alien Controllers.
** Immediately subverted though: [[BizarreAlienBiology whatever that organ is]], it's probably not where they keep their brains, given what they proceed to do with their heads.
* Heimerdinger in ''VideoGame/LeagueOfLegends'' has this in quite ridiculous proportion since he is a very small humanoid with a very large brain.
* Dr. Edgar George Zomboss in ''VideoGame/PlantsVsZombies'' has a massive brain.
* In ''VideoGame/PajamaSam: No Need to Hide When It's Dark Outside'', the titular Sam can mix up some chemicals to create a potion that increases his intelligence - and his brain size, to the point that it weighs too much for him to lift his head from the table.
* Dr. Neo Cortex and Dr. Nitrus Brio of the ''Franchise/CrashBandicoot'' series fit this trope.
* ''VideoGame/StarFox'': "Only I have the [[IncrediblyLamePun brains]] to rule Lylat!"
* The aptly named "Cranium Rats" from ''VideoGame/PlanescapeTorment'' have large brains partly sticking out of their skulls. They also form psychic networks when near each other. [[spoiler:One of the sort-of {{Big Bad}}s of the game is a colony of THOUSANDS of these rats, aptly named "Many as One."]]
* You can tell a Sectoid Commander from a regular Sectoid in ''XComEnemyUnknown'' by looking for the following traits: 1) Their skins has an orange tint, rather than dull gray. 2) Their cranium is significantly larger. 3) They know [[PsychicPowers psionics]].
* Nupraptor the Mentalist from the ''VideoGame/LegacyOfKain'' series had a large, green, pulsating brain. This is a fitting trait for the corrupted Guardian of the Pillar of the Mind.

* Webcomic/KarateBears brains are generally concealed but they are visibly [[http://www.karatebears.com/2012/06/bear-brain.html huge here.]]
* The [[http://ads.sluggy.com/daily.php?date=081111 "Brain Digbot"]] from ''Webcomic/SluggyFreelance'' is designed to look like the lobes of the brain, even though, as a robot, there'd be no reason for it to have a human-like brain.
* Parodied in [[http://www.smbc-comics.com/index.php?db=comics&id=1 this]] ''Webcomic/SaturdayMorningBreakfastCereal'' strip. The big brain is only good if the ''useful'' parts get bigger. Although it can still have [[http://www.smbc-comics.com/index.php?db=comics&id=321#comic other]] uses.
* The male telepath in ''Webcomic/IrregularWebcomic'', first seen [[http://www.irregularwebcomic.net/219.html here.]]

[[folder: Web Original ]]
* ''WebOriginal/OrionsArm'': The [[http://www.orionsarm.com/xcms.php?r=oaeg-view-article&egart_uid=47ed99bea6c67 Highbrows.]]
* ''Literature/WhateleyUniverse'': Mephisto uses the [[PowerCrystal Cosmic Crystal]] to become 'Cerebrex, Master of the Mind', and over time his body dwindled as his brain continued to grow. Or so it seemed: true to his usual modus operandi, it was all done through a mix of ThePowerOfActing, his [[CharlesAtlasSuperpower advanced mental training]], and the illusion-casting powers of the crystal, starting with an oversized costume headpiece (which hid a RayGun), and later using an animatronic drone to allow him to be somewhere else entirely while the heroes were occupied. While the original goal was to get the heroes to take him seriously as a villain again after his long trek through skid row (he couldn't be much of a distraction if he weren't dangerous, after all), but when he realized how ridiculous the new generation fo superheroes and supervillains were in the 1960s, he decided to just keep the trick rolling so he wouldn't have to personally put up with them as often.

[[folder: Western Animation ]]
* ''WesternAnimation/DextersLaboratory'':
** Dexter gained one of these in a dream sequence. Mandark also has this to some degree.
** Even normally Dexter's head is huge compared to the rest of his body, which in a musical retelling of his birth had him diagnosed as "clinically genius" (and made his dad worry if he had some sort of birth defect).
* The evolved mice from ''WesternAnimation/TheItchyAndScratchyShow'' episode "Planet of the Aches", in ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons''.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Freakazoid}}'':
** The Lobe.
** Also {{subverted|Trope}} by [[MeaningfulName Mo-Ron]], an alien who turns out to be a (literally) fat-headed imbecile.
* [[CaptainObvious The Brain]] and Snowball from ''WesternAnimation/PinkyAndTheBrain'', though Brain's is a slightly less extreme design than most.
* The titular ''WesternAnimation/{{Chowder}}'' after an overdose of Brain Grub. It even stretched out his NiceHat!
* Mojo Jojo from ''WesternAnimation/ThePowerpuffGirls'' is a super-intelligent chimpanzee who can speak. He was originally a normal baby chimp until a lab accident caused his brain to grow. He keeps it under a dome-shaped hat most of the time.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'':
** Morbo is likely a parody of the "generic alien" version, although his head is shown [[BizarreAlienBiology inflating and deflating in hot weather...]]
** Also from ''Futurama'': "Our calculations are always correct, for we are gigantic brains."
** And again: [[http://theinfosphere.org/File:Braino.png Braino,]] from professor Farnsworth's collection of busts of great geniuses.
* Professor Zygote of ''WesternAnimation/MightyMax'' evolved himself into an example of this trope.
* ''WesternAnimation/JimmyNeutron'':
** The titular character has a large cranium.
** When Sheen gained superintelligence (and eventually PsychicPowers [[AGodAmI which made him think he was a god]]), he got a swelled head both figuratively and literally. Eventually it was going to split his head open.
* [[WesternAnimation/GeorgeOfTheJungle Super Chicken]] had a villain like this called the Noodle; when he had to think of a plan, he'd [[LiteralMetaphor "use his noodle"]].
* ''WesternAnimation/SuperFriends''
** 1973/74 episode "The Menace of the White Dwarf". The brilliant scientist supervillain Raven has an enlarged bald skull.
** In one episode a scientist turns himself into a megalomaniac "man of the future" complete with swollen bald head. He also zaps Wonder Woman with the device and she [[TranshumanTreachery becomes his accomplice]].
* ''WesternAnimation/TheVentureBrothers'':
** The supervillain Brainulo.
** Master Billy Quizboy is a subversion. While he constantly refers to himself as a "Boy Genius" and credits his intelligence to his overly large head, he's really a middle-aged little person with hydrocephaly. In all fairness, though, he's a competent surgeon and good with mechanical prosthetics.
** Guild villain Think Tank appears for one episode of season 6. When out of his Tank he has trouble standing. Clearly a parody of MODOK.
* A few episodes of ''WesternAnimation/BigGuyAndRustyTheBoyRobot'' had a giant scientist that got in the way of a particle beam and a spider (or something) that could suck out people's brains. With each brain that he absorbed, his head got bigger. Also, the company's CEO's nephew (a teenage {{Expy}} of the CEO) also got in the way of the particle beam, and received the same power.
* Dr. Badvibes from ''[[WesternAnimation/{{COPS}} C.O.P.S.]]''
* Charles/Brainchild from ''WesternAnimation/TheTick''.
* ''WesternAnimation/InvaderZim'':
** Subverted when Dib faces continuous ridicule concerning his "big head" (a [[RunningGag gag]] in and of itself, since [[InformedDeformity it isn't actually any larger than the other characters]]').
** Also parodied with Throbulator, a creature of pure headache!
* The Neo Mega sub-brood of Neosapiens in ''WesternAnimation/ExoSquad''.
* ''WesternAnimation/MenInBlack: The Series'':
** Brainard is a subversion. Although his huge brain gives him considerable psychic power, it doesn't keep him from being [[DumbMuscle very dumb.]]
** Also, J's own cranium expands when using forbidden alien tech boosts his brain power and helps him deal with a time-warping menace. Sadly, [[BlessedWithSuck unless the process is reversed, his head will soon split apart like an overripe casaba melon]].
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Ben 10}}'' and ''WesternAnimation/Ben10AlienForce'':
** The super-intelligent Omnitrix aliens Grey Matter and Brainstorm respectively, have proportionally larger heads than Ben's other forms. Brainstorm can actually open the top of his head to shoot lightning from his brain as his main mode of attack, and its brain makes up something like 90% of its body.
** FridgeLogic actually makes Grey Matter more of an inversion: his eyeballs are so huge in comparison to the rest of his face that there can't be that much room for a brain left over.
* ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy''
-->'''Stewie''': I say, it appears my cranium has doubled in size!
** Another one:
-->'''Stewie''': Good lord, Lois, either I was a C-section or you're Wonder Woman.
* ''WesternAnimation/TotallySpies'':
** One plot involved the villain transmitting the intelligence of Nobel Prize winners into his son. The [[http://www.woohp.org/gallery/displayimage.php?album=58&pos=87 results?]]
** Also the villain Margie, who had the intelligence of several geniuses transferred into her brain. But we don't see it because she keeps it hidden under a BeehiveHairdo.
* [[http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_h5El_bULuPc/Rt-0aD55beI/AAAAAAAAAM4/ggqCGdvpwCw/s1600-h/brain-child.jpg Brainchild]] on ''WesternAnimation/TheRenAndStimpyShow''.
* [[NamesTheSame Another character named Brainchild]] was one of the villainous Supertroopers from ''WesternAnimation/AdventuresOfTheGalaxyRangers''. His entire head was shaped like a brain.
* In ''WesternAnimation/PhineasAndFerb Hawaiian Vacation'', Doofenshmirtz turns his De-Evolution-Inator into an Evolution-Inator and uses it on himself, causing his head to grow so huge he falls over under its weight.
** In ''Cranius Maximus'', Baljeet wears a thinking cap that increases his intelligence. When the cap [[http://www.bubbleblabber.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/momattractor.jpg comes off,]] his brain has grown to a huge size (although it returns to normal in a few seconds).
-->'''Buford:''' Oh! Oh! Oh, that is so gross! But it's kind of awesome...
* An episode of ''WesternAnimation/AquaTeenHungerForce'' revolves around the Aqua Teens' attempts to defeat Wayne "The Brain" [=McClain=] in a sports bar trivia contest. Results in MySkullRunnethOver.
* In ''WesternAnimation/ThePenguinsOfMadagascar'', Kowalski invents a device to make himself smarter, and it gives him an inflated cranium. Unfortunately, not only is the effect temporary, it actually deflates his head entirely, leaving him a dimwitted pinhead.
* Lactose the Intolerant from ''WesternAnimation/SamAndMaxFreelancePolice''. Subverted when [[spoiler:Max lobotomizes him into submission]].
* Yugopotamians on ''WesternAnimation/TheFairlyOddParents'', of the "generic alien" variety
* Happens to Dagget in ''WesternAnimation/TheAngryBeavers'' after ingesting a potion that was ''supposed'' to make him stupider. [[DontExplainTheJoke It didn't work because he was ''already'' pretty stupid to begin with.]]
* Happens to Skeeter during an ImagineSpot in "WesternAnimation/{{Doug}}'s Brainy Buddy" because Doug didn't understand any of his attempt to explain Kant's ''A Critique of Pure Reason'', and also it never occured to him (or anyone else) that Skeeter was ''that'' smart.
* Cybron from ''WesternAnimation/SkysurferStrikeForce'' complete with glass dome head. Only the brain is cybernetic and stolen from his old job, an A.I. lab.
* [[http://www.medinnus.com/AEMH/images/leader_01.png The Leader]] from ''WesternAnimation/TheAvengersEarthsMightiestHeroes'', much like his comic book version. Notably, in his first appearance [[spoiler:he's exposed to gamma radiation at the moment of his defeat, enlarging his brain further to the point he can't stand up]].
* Occurs in one episode of ''WesternAnimation/CatDog'' where Dog becomes super-intelligent. And Cat's brain shrinks to compensate.
* Invoked in ''WesternAnimation/DawnOfTheCroods'', where Grug gets bitten in the head by a spider-ant, causing his head to swell up leading everyone to assume he is the smartest person around and turn to him to advice, but his advice is still fairly terrible.

* Spoofed in [[http://www.dialbforblog.com/archives/241/ this post]] at Dial B for Blog.
* ''Garbage Pail Kids'''s Brainy Janey
* One author -Dougal Dixon?- suggested that could be the future of our species: a huge brain, so big that it would not be surrounded by the skull, and one small -in comparison- undeveloped body, with thin limbs.

[[folder: Real Life]]
* This has been the cause of much dispute among the scientific community about whether or not [[DoesThisRemindYouofAnything size really does matter.]] On one hand humans have a larger brain than most of the world's creatures, then again, so do sperm whales and elephants.[[note]] Although humans have most vertebrates beat in brain-to-body mass ratios.[[/note]]
* Subverted by Neanderthals: While they had a brain size comparable and even slightly larger than those of modern humans, the shape of the skull was quite lower that ours, and the visual effect was the opposite of this trope.
** Ironically, what seems to have made the difference in the 'Homo Sapiens vs Neanderthal brainoff' wasn't quantitative, but qualitative. A dip in the brain pan directly below what we term the language center of the brain allowed us to develop linguistic thought; a new mode of abstract thinking that allowed unprecedented levels of communication, and lead to the development of writing. Writing itself was revolutionary simply because it makes knowledge and experience cumulative rather than transitory. Rather than expiring with an individual's death, knowledge could begin to accrue. It could easily be argued that said tiny dip ultimately lead to the creation of human civilization.
* An old theory credits this trope with why the Industrial Revolution occurred in Europe. Since Europeans are outsized by the Xhosa, Buryats, Iroquois, Eskimos, and Mongols, it's obviously long since been discredited.
* The ''Corvidae'' (crows and ravens) have brains the size of a walnut, yet are almost as intelligent as the great apes. Which just shows that the Brain/Body ratio is a lot less reliable when applied to non-mammals. (Also, why you shouldn't say "bird brain" to mean "stupid".) Birds use different brain regions for "thinking" than other creatures, so you really can't judge them by the size of their frontal lobes.
** The brain has to process the sensory input from the whole body, and elaborate an appropriate motor response. Seeing that cell size and cerebral cortex structure don't change with body size, and that larger animals have quite a bunch more of sensorial structures; the brain has to be larger and with an even more folded surface just to process the incoming information. Doesn't take away the fact that Hominids, Elephantids, Delphinids or Corvids have larger than expected brains and extensive processing areas.
* This is often a consequence of hydrocephalus, which is caused by cerebrospinal fluid being prevented from draining out of the brain. This enlarges the ventricles that normally hold the fluid and pushes the rest of the brain outwards. If it occurs during development, the skull enlarges to accommodate the larger brain. However, the buildup of pressure actually ''compresses'' the brain tissue and in severe cases can cause mental retardation.
* Creator/ConanOBrien, who self-deprecatingly refers to his "big fat Irish head", studied history at Harvard and wrote a thesis on the use of children as symbols in the works of Creator/WilliamFaulkner and Flannery O'Connor.
* In his book ''The Dragons Of Eden'', Creator/CarlSagan notes that the species with large brain-mass to body-mass ratios tend to be those that most biologists think of as the most intelligent. Then again, this is based on subjective perception (scientists still disagree about how to measure animal intelligence), so another possible interpretation is that humans are subconsciously WrongGenreSavvy.
* Research has shown that [[UsefulNotes/{{Autism}} autistics]] can have as many as 60% more neurons in their brains than most people. A major theory is that the "pruning" of excess neurons that normally occurs in development around age 2 or 3, doesn't happen or happens less with autistic children, leading to excessive sensory input and less ability to process and organize it, thus causing problems with social situations. [[CursedWithAwesome Conversely, high-functioning autists can capitalize on the increased neuronal connections to perform tasks demanding high levels of intelligence and/or concentration.]]
* To an extent, a big brain helps a species of smaller mammals (below 10 kg or so) avoid extinction when the environment changes, according to a study reported in an [[http://www.nature.com/news/mostly-the-big-brained-survive-1.11027 article]] in ''Nature''.