Developing Intelligence

Archives for January, 2007

Feral Child Discovered

The media is currently blowing up with reports that a 27-year-old woman who disappeared in the forests of Cambodia has now been found, 18-20 years later (reports vary). She was spotted on January 13th by a villager who saw a “jungle person, sneaking in to steal his rice,” and was subsequentely identified as Rochom P’ngieng…

Yesterday I outlined a few reasons to think that we may not actually forget all of our earliest memories; instead, they may merely be mislabeled due to a failure of source monitoring. According to a 2002 article by Drummey and Newcombe, a similar problem may underlie childhood amnesia – the fragmentary nature of autobiographical memory…

The Myth of Infantile Amnesia

Freud famously suggested that infantile amnesia is an active suppression of early traumatic memories. However, a review of the modern cognitive literature suggests that at least in some ways, infantile amnesia may actually be a myth.

Suppose that “memory task A” shows marked improvement at 5 months, but “memory task B” doesn’t show marked improvement until 9 months. Before we can make inferences about the development of memory, we need to understand how tasks A and B differentially strain the developing cognitive system.

Encephalon 14 posted

Enjoy the holiday with some nice reading from Encephalon 14: Mixing Memory has posted the new issue.

Blogging on the Brain: 1/13

Recent highlights from the brain blogosphere: Can crossword puzzles help prevent senile dementia? The current state of the brain fitness movement: as evaluated by the New York Times. Spindle neurons evolved very recently – are they also the source of frontal dementia? A new form of pharmacological brain enhancement – could this technique avoid the…

The cognitive science of hemispheric asymmetry has long been marred by drastic over-simplification. The left/right distinction has been associated with dichotomies like rational vs. emotional, specific vs. holistic, and analytical vs. synthetic. Such differences are much more graded than dichotomous, to the extent that they exist in the first place. So, before reviewing well-established kinds…

King of the Cortex: Anterior PFC

As enigmatic as prefrontal function seems to be, the anterior portions of prefrontal cortex (aPFC) are even more mysterious. This results partly from the fact that aPFC is particularly difficult to access and study electrophysiologically in nonhuman primates, as Ramnani and Owen note in their 2004 Nature Reviews Neuroscience article, and so detailed neuroanatomical investigations…

Neural Cascades in Prefrontal Cortex

As described in yesterday’s post, many theories have been proposed on the possible functional organization of prefrontal cortex (PFC). Although it’s clear that this region plays a large role in human intelligence, it is unclear exactly “how” it does so. Nonetheless at least some general conclusions on prefrontal computation can be made.

Although much progress has been made since neurologist Richard Restack called the brain one of science’s last frontiers, the functions of some brain areas remain mysterious. Foremost among these is prefrontal cortex (PFC), a region that is much reduced in size in most other primates, is among the last areas to develop in human children,…