Category Archives: Cognition

Can’t Read, Can’t Think

Ever since the Gutenberg press, the widespread effect of “deep reading” on the brains of educated classes has unleashed a rapid expansion of intellectual productivity in more modern parts of the world. Those gains are now under threat from technology, … Continue reading

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You Have to be Smart to Understand How Stupid You Are

Bertrand Russell, a British philosopher in the late 1880s once wrote, “The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt.” Turns out, Russell was right. Research shows that people who are … Continue reading

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This is Mind Control to Major Tom

This is mind control to major Tom, you’ve really made the grade And the papers want to know whose shirts you wear Now it’s time to leave the capsule if you dare This is major Tom to mind control, I’m … Continue reading

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Don’t Stay Stuck on the First Rung of Thought

It’s easy to understand why some people would see data mining as the finish rather than the first step. It promises a solution using available technology. It saves us, as well as future machines, the work of having to consider … Continue reading

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Can A Single Neuron Understand the Whole Brain?

Neuroscientists are beginning to ask themselves: Can a human brain understand the human brain? The sheer amount of descriptive data on the brain being generated in neuroscience labs is terribly daunting — and is being described as “an existential crisis” … Continue reading

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Four Paths to Savant Mental Skills

Savant skills are typically confined to five areas: art, music, calendar calculating, mathematics and mechanical/spatial skills (Treffert 2005). These skills are [ed: in brain-damaged savants] accompanied by an exceptional ability to recall meaningless detail—memory without understanding (Sacks 2007) and a … Continue reading

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Evolution and Human Cognition

Since the split from the chimpanzee lineage, the human brain has increased three-fold in size and has acquired abilities for vocal learning, language and intense cooperation. … the increasing availability of genome sequences from humans, chimpanzees and other primates, as … Continue reading

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Augmenting Human Cognition

It is important to understand that human cognitive ability is strongly influenced by genes — with the genetic influence generally increasing as a person grows older, from about 40% heritability in childhood to roughly 80% heritability in late maturity. Intelligence … Continue reading

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Why Men Have to be Funnier than Women

Scientists Ask: Why Are Men Funnier than Women? Simply by looking at the highest paid and best known comedians, we should all suspect that men are funnier than women. But even among the population of average men and women, men … Continue reading

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Perils of “Crisis Thinking”

In a genuine disaster, most people’s brains fail them. Here is a list of ways in which the “crisis thinking” of most people leads them astray: 1. Freezing Though it looks passive from the outside, when we’re paralysed with fear … Continue reading

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Drowning in the Shallows of Distraction?

The following article is adapted and re-published from The Dangerous Child blog. Choosing Between Shallow Distraction and Deep Work Deep Work is the ability to focus intensely on a problem for hours at a time, bringing all of your cognitive … Continue reading

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Styles of Thought

The human brain did not evolve with any particular end in mind. But we have been lucky to find at this late date in our evolution that our brains are capable of several types of thinking. Using these different approaches … Continue reading

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Five Year-Olds Just Don’t Get No Respect

But Perhaps They Should In 1968, George Land conducted a research study to test the creativity of 1,600 children ranging in ages from three-to-five years old who were enrolled in a Head Start program. This was the same creativity test … Continue reading

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The Paradox of the Flat Mind

Psychologist Nick Chater says that he has discovered that the human mind is exceedingly shallow — or even flat. This is not what most people want to hear about themselves, and has not been a very popular message on the … Continue reading

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Big Five Personality Test

The big five personality traits are the best accepted and most commonly used model of personality in academic psychology. The big five come from the statistical study of responses to personality items. Using a technique called factor analysis researchers can … Continue reading

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Adult Neurogenesis, and BDNF

Human brains generate new neurons throughout life. This miracle of lifelong brain regeneration allows lifelong learning, and is driven by complex interacting processes. One of the biological factors that can stimulate the formation of new brain neurons is the neurotrophic … Continue reading

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If Not for Miscomprehension There’d be No Comprehension at All

Jordan Peterson has been on a speaking tour of Europe and the Anglosphere for most of the year 2018. On the surface, this grand tour of the western world is about promoting his latest book, Twelve Rules for Life. On … Continue reading

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We are Living in an Alzheimer World

We Must Take a More Intelligent Approach to Dementia Emerging evidence suggests that Alzheimer’s-related brain changes may result from a complex interplay among abnormal tau and beta-amyloid proteins and several other factors. It appears that abnormal tau accumulates in specific … Continue reading

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Can Social Justice Build a Better Bridge?

Social Justice Warriors Infiltrate Engineering Schools Engineering education has been infiltrated by a “phalanx of social justice warriors” who are steadily corrupting the field, according to a Michigan State University professor. “They have sought out the soft underbelly of engineering, … Continue reading

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How Can We Explain the Coming European Idiocracy?

This post is a follow-on to yesterday’s article on the recent PNAS finding of a “reverse Flynn Effect” in Norway. IQs appear to be similarly falling in France, the Netherlands, Finland, Denmark, and elsewhere in Europe. Yesterday we looked at … Continue reading

Posted in Cognition, Demographics, Idiocracy, IQ | Tagged , | 5 Comments

Jordan Peterson vs. the “Mad Dog Atheists”

Conscious Intelligence is Not a Logical Proposition Clinical psychologist Jordan Peterson has staked out a large territory in the sphere of public discussion, which borders on several distinctly different areas of thought and belief. These multiple “boundary lines” have become … Continue reading

Posted in Cognition, Jordan Peterson, Knowledge, Machine Intelligence, Science | Tagged | 8 Comments

A Warning About Antidepressants

We Already Knew About This: … most of the perpetrators of mass murder over the past fifteen to twenty years had been taking prescription medicines at the time of their killings, and the drugs they had been taking were usually … Continue reading

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Sex Hormones Determine Male and Female Brain Differences

From Monkeys to Humans, Hormones Shape Brains Scientifically Correct, but Not Politically Correct Prenatal exposure to sex hormones shapes the neonatal brain from the very beginning. Testosterone pouring out of the tiny testicles of male fetuses begins to cause the … Continue reading

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Jordan Peterson’s Lectures: Like Taking Psychedelic Drugs Without the Drugs?

From Harvard to Toronto to the World at Large Shelley Carson, who now teaches at Harvard and writes about creativity, recalled that Peterson had “something akin to a cult following” in his Harvard days. “Taking a course from him was … Continue reading

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Welcome to the Idiocracy: Lynn and Flynn Agree

Scientists Richard Lynn and James Flynn are well known for their discovery of the Lynn-Flynn effect. First Lynn and then Flynn independently discovered that average IQ test scores in industrial nations were rising during the mid to late 20th century. … Continue reading

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