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The human brain is getting smaller
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Moma Offline
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Post: #26
RE: The human brain is getting smaller
(05-17-2014 05:37 PM)Samseau Wrote:  Question: Is brain size important for intelligence? Why aren't whales the smartest creatures in the universe?

It's about activity of the brain. How healthy the neurons are and how rapidly the fire. It's very similar to a computer. The size of the processor chip doesn't relate to how efficient the chip is (how quickly it processes instructions).

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05-18-2014 06:06 AM
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cardguy Offline
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Post: #27
RE: The human brain is getting smaller
@The Lizard of Oz - Karl Popper had an interesting essay once examining natural selection. It was hard to be sure exactly what point he was making - but he seemed to feel that some of the thinking surrounding natural selection slips into tautology.

If you are interested - this article gives the details of the all the issues surrounding Popper's writing in this area:

http://ncse.com/cej/6/2/what-did-karl-po...-evolution

I remember reading Popper's work in this area about ten years ago and thinking that he raised some interesting questions about whether or not evolution was a genuinely scientific theory (in the sense of being falsifiable).

Anyway - thanks for your contributions to this thread. If the police had a department for arresting people for sloppy thinking, misapplying science and misusing logic - you would be on in the alleyways beating up suspects! :-)

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(This post was last modified: 05-18-2014 09:36 AM by cardguy.)
05-18-2014 09:32 AM
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Samseau Offline
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Post: #28
RE: The human brain is getting smaller
(05-18-2014 06:06 AM)Moma Wrote:  
(05-17-2014 05:37 PM)Samseau Wrote:  Question: Is brain size important for intelligence? Why aren't whales the smartest creatures in the universe?

It's about activity of the brain. How healthy the neurons are and how rapidly the fire. It's very similar to a computer. The size of the processor chip doesn't relate to how efficient the chip is (how quickly it processes instructions).

This makes sense to me as well. Haven't scientists talked about the amount of brain folds being very important towards total brain intelligence as well?

And then you have this:

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn12...3oFWvldV8E

Quote:Man with tiny brain shocks doctors

A man with an unusually tiny brain manages to live an entirely normal life despite his condition, which was caused by a fluid build-up in his skull.

Scans of the 44-year-old man's brain showed that a huge fluid-filled chamber called a ventricle took up most of the room in his skull, leaving little more than a thin sheet of actual brain tissue (see image, right).

"It is hard for me [to say] exactly the percentage of reduction of the brain, since we did not use software to measure its volume. But visually, it is more than a 50% to 75% reduction," says Lionel Feuillet, a neurologist at the Mediterranean University in Marseille, France.

Feuillet and his colleagues describe the case of this patient in The Lancet. He is a married father of two children, and works as a civil servant.

The man went to a hospital after he had mild weakness in his left leg. When Feuillet's staff took his medical history, they learned that, as an infant, he had had a shunt inserted into his head to drain away hydrocephalus - water on the brain.

The shunt was removed when he was 14. But the researchers decided to check the condition of his brain using computed tomography (CT) scanning technology and another type of scan called magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). They were astonished to see "massive enlargement" of the lateral ventricles - usually tiny chambers that hold the cerebrospinal fluid that cushions the brain.

Intelligence tests showed the man had an IQ of 75, below the average score of 100 but not considered mentally retarded or disabled.

"The whole brain was reduced - frontal, parietal, temporal and occipital lobes - on both left and right sides. These regions control motion, sensibility, language, vision, audition, and emotional and cognitive functions," Feuillet told New Scientist.

[Image: dn12301-1_750.jpg]

Dude is missing a brain yet still has IQ of 75, which is only one standard deviation from the norm. Of course, he found a job in the government.

However, stuff like this leads me to believe that the mind is not entirely located within the brain and that the brain is poorly understood.

Brain size appears to be an important factor, but just one of many.

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(This post was last modified: 05-19-2014 08:25 AM by Samseau.)
05-19-2014 08:25 AM
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demolition Offline
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Post: #29
RE: The human brain is getting smaller
Larger brain size does correspond to higher intelligence.
05-19-2014 08:39 AM
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Moma Offline
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RE: The human brain is getting smaller
(05-19-2014 08:39 AM)demolition Wrote:  Larger brain size does correspond to higher intelligence.

So why are whales and dolphins not rulers of Earth with fancy boats and land ships created from their higher intelligence?

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05-19-2014 09:05 AM
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Samseau Offline
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Post: #31
RE: The human brain is getting smaller
(05-19-2014 08:39 AM)demolition Wrote:  Larger brain size does correspond to higher intelligence.

Correlation =/= causation

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05-19-2014 09:55 AM
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Post: #32
RE: The human brain is getting smaller
(05-19-2014 09:05 AM)Moma Wrote:  
(05-19-2014 08:39 AM)demolition Wrote:  Larger brain size does correspond to higher intelligence.

So why are whales and dolphins not rulers of Earth with fancy boats and land ships created from their higher intelligence?

I've wondered about that. Maybe it's because they have no hands to make things. Maybe they have some powerful intelligence that's different from land creatures because of the water environment. Maybe they can all do topology calculations in their heads, but can't write the shit down.
05-20-2014 08:49 AM
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demolition Offline
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Post: #33
RE: The human brain is getting smaller
(05-19-2014 09:55 AM)Samseau Wrote:  
(05-19-2014 08:39 AM)demolition Wrote:  Larger brain size does correspond to higher intelligence.

Correlation =/= causation

No one ever said that having a bigger brain would necessarily make you smarter, or else NBA / NFL guys would be consistently above average intelligence. But everything I've read in the past 10 years from neuroscientists has indicated that brain size has a small-modest effect on intelligence.

Quote:So why are whales and dolphins not rulers of Earth with fancy boats and land ships created from their higher intelligence?

Whales and dolphins have a different brain architecture that did not [yet] evolve intelligence to the same extent that humans did. This is as silly as asking why a bigger steam broiler doesn't produce more horsepower than a fuel-injected gas engine. If you want the scientific argument, the last hypothesis I read was that it's brain mass relative to body mass (humans have a much better brain to body mass ratio than either of those).
(This post was last modified: 05-21-2014 10:55 PM by demolition.)
05-21-2014 10:44 PM
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Kabal Away
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Post: #34
RE: The human brain is getting smaller
(05-21-2014 10:44 PM)demolition Wrote:  
(05-19-2014 09:55 AM)Samseau Wrote:  
(05-19-2014 08:39 AM)demolition Wrote:  Larger brain size does correspond to higher intelligence.

Correlation =/= causation

No one ever said that having a bigger brain would necessarily make you smarter, or else NBA / NFL guys would be consistently above average intelligence. But everything I've read in the past 10 years from neuroscientists has indicated that brain size has a small-modest effect on intelligence.

Quote:So why are whales and dolphins not rulers of Earth with fancy boats and land ships created from their higher intelligence?

...

Whales and dolphins... (humans have a much better brain to body mass ratio than either of those).

You mentioned it yourself, that it is brain size with respect to body size that "matters." Correlation does not equal causation, but it should be obvious prima facie that increased brain size is linked to (and causes) increased intelligence across statistical populations (whether within or across species). The question is, what is the function that best describes the two... BrainMass/BodyMass, ln(BrainMass/BodyMass), etc.? There is nothing magical about BrainMass/BodyMass as in indicator, other than its straightforwardness.

Human brain size likely shrunk as a result of domestication (mentioned in the article).

Think dogs vis a vis wolves--the former have been artificially and/or naturally selected for sociability, and have 10-30% smaller skulls/brains (off the top of my head), as a result.

The reduction in brain/skull size may come from lessened dependency on senses, not from "Idiocracy"-like decreases in cognitive power.

That being said, I wouldn't be surprised if there have been "Idiocracy"-like effects in this time-span, holding things like nutrition constant.

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(This post was last modified: 05-21-2014 11:36 PM by Kabal.)
05-21-2014 11:32 PM
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Big Country Offline
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Post: #35
RE: The human brain is getting smaller
We know next to nothing about the brain. Probing our brains is like a baby trying to eat. It's just a mess.
05-22-2014 05:27 AM
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Thomas the Rhymer Offline
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Post: #36
RE: The human brain is getting smaller
(05-22-2014 05:27 AM)mauds Wrote:  We know next to nothing about the brain. Probing our brains is like a baby trying to eat. It's just a mess.

Reminds me of something I read once:

"If our brains were simple to understand, we'd be too simple to understand them."

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05-22-2014 06:42 AM
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Cr33pin Offline
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Post: #37
RE: The human brain is getting smaller
The human brain is getting smaller

I blame Honey Boo Boo and Jersey Shore

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05-22-2014 12:03 PM
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Post: #38
RE: The human brain is getting smaller
I remember reading this last year.

Declining IQ In Western Nations

A Standard Deviation is only 15 points.

Sort of fits my theory that Current University Level Thought is of the mundane 100-120 variety. Intelligent, but not *that* intelligent.
05-23-2014 06:25 PM
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demolition Offline
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Post: #39
RE: The human brain is getting smaller
I saw an article sometime recently that suggested that humans have been declining in intelligence as well, since the time of the Greeks. Although the evidence based purely on reaction times is questionable, I honestly believe there's merit to that. Reading texts from hundreds of years ago compared to today it's easy to see how much more rigorous thinkers were.
05-24-2014 11:09 AM
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Post: #40
RE: The human brain is getting smaller
Good point bro. Other factors that infulence intelligence massively are the size of the hippocaumpus, abundence of growth factors such especially ngf, bngf and the thickness of your dendrites. Many extremely high iq individuals will have thicker dendrites.
(05-18-2014 06:06 AM)Moma Wrote:  
(05-17-2014 05:37 PM)Samseau Wrote:  Question: Is brain size important for intelligence? Why aren't whales the smartest creatures in the universe?

It's about activity of the brain. How healthy the neurons are and how rapidly the fire. It's very similar to a computer. The size of the processor chip doesn't relate to how efficient the chip is (how quickly it processes instructions).
05-24-2014 12:12 PM
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