Tag Archives | Intelligence

Fish Found To Equal Chimpanzees In Intelligence Test

Who knew that trout were so smart? A new study finds that coral trout actively seek hunting help from moray eels and collaborate to catch their prey, reports Wired:

Certain forms of collaboration are supposed to be so sophisticated that only the smartest creatures—namely humans and perhaps a few close relatives—are capable of them. Yet this exclusive club has a new and unexpected member: a species of fish, a class of animals seldom associated with high-level intelligence.

As demonstrated in a series of experiments published today in Current Biology, coral trout not only solicit the help of moray eels when they hunt, but also pick their hunting partners wisely. They know when they need help, and quickly learn which eels best provide it. It’s a seemingly simple yet surprisingly sophisticated cognitive trick.

Plectropomus leopardus 1

“Prior to our study, chimpanzees and humans were the only species known to possess both of these abilities,” said zoologist Alex Vail of England’s University of Cambridge.

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Slime Mold Colony Intelligence Explored In New Documentary ‘The Creeping Garden’

“A real life science fiction movie exploring a world creeping right beneath our feet, where time and space are magnified and intelligence redefined.

The Creeping Garden is a feature length creative documentary exploring the work of fringe scientists, mycologists and artists, and their relationship with the extraordinary plasmodial slime mould.”

The Creeping Garden – Trailer 2014 from cinema iloobia on Vimeo.

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Rats Can Feel Regret, Says Scientists

"I regret nothing." (Pic-Joanna Servaes.)

“I regret nothing.” (Pic-Joanna Servaes cc)

Sounds like it’s about time we get an apology for bubonic plague, then.

New research from the Department of Neuroscience at the University of Minnesota reveals that rats show regret, a cognitive behavior once thought to be uniquely and fundamentally human.

Research findings were recently published in Nature Neuroscience.

To measure the cognitive behavior of regret, A. David Redish, Ph.D., a professor of neuroscience in the University of Minnesota Department of Neuroscience, and Adam Steiner, a graduate student in the Graduate Program in Neuroscience, who led the study, started from the definitions of regret that economists and psychologists have identified in the past.

“Regret is the recognition that you made a mistake, that if you had done something else, you would have been better off,” said Redish. “The difficult part of this study was separating regret from disappointment, which is when things aren’t as good as you would have hoped.

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Modern Human Evolution: Is It Working Against Us?

i-8c66c4d51330345ea25f9764619ec10e-human-evolutionIn the vein of discussion recently on disinfo regarding how politically correct (or morally obligative) it is to address a person’s stupidity, Nicholas Wade writes a challenging and frank article for Time.com to promote his book A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes Race and Human History.

…Racism and discrimination are wrong as a matter of principle, not of science. That said, it is hard to see anything in the new understanding of race that gives ammunition to racists. The reverse is the case. Exploration of the genome has shown that all humans, whatever their race, share the same set of genes. Each gene exists in a variety of alternative forms known as alleles, so one might suppose that races have distinguishing alleles, but even this is not the case. A few alleles have highly skewed distributions but these do not suffice to explain the difference between races. The difference between races seems to rest on the subtle matter of relative allele frequencies.

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The Taboo of IQ

Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Michael Pineda (36) (5709266340)

Michael Pineda

Why We Sidestep Stupidity, and Why We Sometimes Shouldn’t

In the 2nd inning of his fourth start of the 2014 baseball season, New York Yankees’ pitcher Michael Pineda was ejected, and subsequently suspended, for using pine tar on his pitching hand.

Though technically an illegal substance, pine tar’s use is an open secret due to the offsetting advantages it affords adversaries. In raw, cold conditions such as those endured that April evening in Boston, pine tar provides pitchers with a more reliable grip on a baseball while having little, if any, effect on its flight. The pitcher gains a grasp more in line with warmer weather and, in return, the batter is less likely to be summarily plunked by a runaway 95-mph fastball. In exchange for no harm, no foul is called so long as the rule is bent with gentlemanly discretion.

Michael Pineda displayed no such guile. Instead, he smeared a generous glob of the shiny, sticky stuff on his naked upper neck.… Read the rest

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Trace Amounts of Arsenic In Drinking Water Can Make You Stupid

PIC: Aramgutang (PD)

PIC: Aramgutang (PD)

According to researchers at Columbia University, even small amounts of arsenic in your drinking water can lower children’s IQ. If you’re wondering if your local water supply has arsenic in it, then wonder no more: Just about every water system – private or public – does. The study suggests that 5 or more parts per billion can impact children’s cognitive abilities. The EPA standard for acceptable arsenic levels is 10 parts per billion or less.

Via Press Herald:

Scientists from Columbia University and the University of New Hampshire recently completed a five-year study of 272 schoolchildren in Maine who had been exposed to arsenic in well water. They found that even at low levels, 5 or more parts per billion, the exposure could correlate to lower intelligence, as much as five to six points on IQ tests.

“Everyone was a little taken aback by that,” said professor Amy Schwartz of the University of New Hampshire, who coordinated the testing of Maine children.

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Interview With Mark Pilkington On UFO Documentary ‘Mirage Men’ And The Games Intel Agencies Play

Mirage_Men_posterMark Pilkington’s 2010 book Mirage Men is one of the more credible takes I’ve read on the topic of unidentified flying objects. Pilkington alleges that many of the stories we’ve heard about alien visitors and flying saucers are part of a deliberate campaign of disinformation created by intelligence agencies to cover up secret military technology and clandestine operations.  These “mirage men” have manipulated some UFO believers to the point of madness and beyond through the use of fabricated “evidence” and psychological warfare techniques, all in the name of national security.

Pilkington, along with directors John Lundberg, Roland Denning, and Kypros Kyprianou, just released a documentary based on the book. Also titled Mirage Men, the film expands on the premise of the book and feature interviews with some of the mirage men and their victims. It’s now available to rent online courtesy of Perception Management Productions, Random Media, and Yekra.… Read the rest

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Otis Pike, First Congressman to Battle NSA, Dies Unnoticed

Screen Shot 2014-02-06 at 12.55.10 PMAt possibly the most poignant time in the last 30 years,  the man who valiantly did battle with the US intelligence octopus in the 1970s, Otis Pike,  has died.  All liberty-minded Americans should be celebrating his character and accomplishments, but there is a pervasive and undeserved lull.   Mark Ames of Pando.com writes:

Pike asked questions never asked or answered since the start of the Cold War: What was America’s intelligence budget? What was the purpose of the CIA, NSA and other intelligence agencies and programs? Were they succeeding by their own standards? Were taxpayers getting their money’s worth? Were they making America safer?…The problem was that Pike asked the right questions—and that led him to some very wrong answers, as far as the powers that be were concerned.

…Today, there’s an underlying assumption that exposing dark government secrets is somehow transformative in itself, even without a wider politics to frame it.

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Epilepsy Drug Allows Adults To Learn Perfect Pitch And New Languages As If They Were Children

valproateEarly childhood-style learning abilities as a side effect? Via NPR:

Takao Hensch, professor of molecular and cellular biology at Harvard, is studying a drug which might allow adults to learn perfect pitch. Hensch says the drug, valprioc acid, allows the brain to absorb new information as easily as it did before age 7.

“It’s a mood-stabilizing drug, but we found that it also restores the plasticity of the brain to a juvenile state,” Hensch says.

Hensch gave the drug to a group of young men who had no musical training as children. They were asked to perform tasks to train their ears, and at the end of a two-week period, tested on their ability to discriminate tone.

The results were that those who took the valproate scored much higher on pitch tests than those who underwent similar training but only took the placebo. In other words, Hensch gave people a pill and then taught them to have perfect pitch.

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Chimps Easily Beat Humans In Complex Numeric Memory Tests

chimpsVia the Guardian, powerful mental abilities we ironically have lost through evolution:

In a landmark test of short-term memory conducted in public in 2007, the young chimp Ayumu demonstrated astonishing powers of recall, easily beating his human competitors, who had been in training for months.

“We’ve concluded through the cognitive tests that chimps have extraordinary memories,” Matsuzawa says. “They can grasp things at a glance. As a human, you will never be a match.”

Why do the latter have such vastly superior working memories? As humans evolved and acquired new skills – notably the ability to use language to communicate and collaborate –they lost others they once shared with their common simian ancestors.

The institute’s researchers are trying to find how far Ayumu can go before he falters. In the most recent tests, the number of digits [shown for a split second] has been increased from 1-9 to 1-19.

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