… Read the rest
With half as many neurons in their cerebral cortex as cats—and half the attitude, some would say—dogs are often taken to be the less intelligent domestic partner. While dogs drink out of the toilet, slavishly follow their master and need a chaperone to relieve themselves, cats hunt self-sufficiently and survey their empire with a regal gaze.
But cats beware. Research in recent years has finally revealed the genius of dogs.
Like other language-trained animals—dolphins, parrots, bonobos—dogs can learn to respond to hundreds of spoken signals associated with different objects. What sets dogs apart is how they learn these words.
If you show a child a red block and a green block, and then ask for the chromium block, not the red block, most children will give you the green block, despite not knowing that the word “chromium” can refer to a shade of green.
Tag Archives | Intelligence
(I’m not surprised by this at all. I myself had middling experiences with IQ testing as a child. One year I was flagged as “gifted”, and then a few years of trouble at home and problems fitting in at a different school and suddenly I was in need of “special education”. – Editor)
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After conducting the largest online intelligence study on record, a Western University-led research team has concluded that the notion of measuring one’s intelligence quotient or IQ by a singular, standardized test is highly misleading.
The findings from the landmark study, which included more than 100,000 participants, were published Dec. 19 in the journal Neuron. The article, “Fractionating human intelligence,” was written by Adrian M. Owen and Adam Hampshire from Western’s Brain and Mind Institute (London, Canada) and Roger Highfield, Director of External Affairs, Science Museum Group (London, U.K).
Utilizing an online study open to anyone, anywhere in the world, the researchers asked respondents to complete 12 cognitive tests tapping memory, reasoning, attention and planning abilities, as well as a survey about their background and lifestyle habits.
It doesn’t take a genius to know that the devil (or ghosts, aliens, even Bigfoot) makes a great foil for human perfidy. What better justification is there for a full-tilt trip into Bat Country? Take the wheel, Mothman!
Get thee behind me, “Exhaustion”.
For the most part, modern materialist philosophy has banished our bogeys and exorcised our evil spirits, pushing them into the liminal spaces. For the most part, modern monsters have occupied the gaps, more than willing to take the fall for our acts of indiscretion. “Exhaustion” seems to be a most powerful demon among the celebrity set; “Shopping addictions” and other personifications of pleasure-seeking are also among the unholy horde. These aren’t “demons” in any theological sense, unless you consider modernity a religion. Some of you may be disappointed: You want that Old Time Religion. Take heart, artful dodgers of culpability: occasionally one of these Elder Entities of the Id do break through the safety nets – such as the Incubus.… Read the rest
Via Skeptiko, a fascinating interview with neuroscientist Dr. Mario Beauregard, who argues that, like the transition from classical to quantum physics, a revolution is coming in the way science will no longer perceive humans as being merely “biological robots”:
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What we call the “modern scientific worldview”… is based on classical physics and this view is based on a number of fundamental assumptions like materialism, determinism, reductionism. So applied to mind and brain it means that, for instance, everything in the universe is only matter and energy that form the brain as a physical object, too, and the mind can be reduced strictly to electrical and chemical processes in the brain.
It means also that everything is determined from a material or physical point of view, so we don’t have any freedom. We’re like biological robots, totally determined by our neurons and our genes and so on. And so we’re reduced to material objects and we are determined by material processes.
Remember daydreaming about robots and cyborgs as a kid? They’re almost here! Bad news, though: They’ll be killing machines. What could possibly go wrong? You’re welcome, future.
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We’ve seen experimental prosthetics in recent years that are connected to the human neurological system. The Council says the link between man and machine is about to get way more cyborg-like. “As replacement limb technology advances, people may choose to enhance their physical selves as they do with cosmetic surgery today. Future retinal eye implants could enable night vision, and neuro-enhancements could provide superior memory recall or speed of thought,” the Council writes. “Brain-machine interfaces could provide ‘superhuman’ abilities, enhancing strength and speed, as well as providing functions not previously available.”
And if the machines can’t be embedded into the person, the person may embed himself in the robot.
Something scientists have come to understand is that slime molds are much smarter than they look. One species in particular, the SpongeBob SquarePants–yellow Physarum polycephalum, can solve mazes, mimic the layout of man-made transportation networks and choose the healthiest food from a diverse menu—and all this without a brain or nervous system. "Slime molds are redefining what you need to have to qualify as intelligent," Reid says.
Anwar Al-alwaki, a well known radical cleric with ties to the accused Fort Hood shooter Nidal Malik Hassan, “Underwear Bomber” Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, and three of the 9/11 hijackers was killed last year by a CIA drone strike in Yemen. Al-alwaki also holds the dubious distinction of being one of the first US citizens placed on the list of people the CIA was allowed to kill. In a story worthy of the silver screen, a Danish man claims to have led the CIA directly to Al-alwaki.
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A 36-year-old Dane called Morten Storm says he was the man who led the CIA to Anwar al Awlaki, the al Qaeda cleric killed in a U.S. drone strike in Yemen last year. And he says he did it with a computer thumb-drive that secretly contained a tracking device.
Among the evidence he’s produced: recorded telephone conversations, passport stamps showing multiple trips to Yemen, correspondence with Awlaki, and a recording of a conversation with an unidentified American – who acknowledges his role in the pursuit of Awlaki..
Today, this news, tomorrow, a bird parliament. Crows living in a controlled environment have shown that they possess a sophisticated form of reasoning believed to be a hallmark of humanity alone, Wired writes:
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A type of sophisticated thinking known as “causal reasoning” [is] inferring that mechanisms you can’t see may be responsible for something. But humans aren’t alone in this ability: New Caledonian crows can also reason about hidden mechanisms, or “causal agents,” a team of scientists report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. It’s the first time that this cognitive ability has been experimentally demonstrated in a species other than humans.
The tests show that the crows are “capable of causal reasoning,” Taylor says. “We expected the crows to initially be scared of the moving stick. Instead, they only became scared when they could not attribute the movement to a hidden human—which suggests the crows were reasoning that the stick’s movement was caused by that human.” The crows, he says, apparently don’t expect an inanimate object to move on its own.