Developing Intelligence

Archives for January, 2007

In a few places throughout the second edition of his landmark book, Mark Johnson suggests that the field of developmental cognitive neuroscience has matured from infancy to toddlerhood. This book, then, is a sort of biography, from the field’s theoretical ancestry in 17th century debates between “vitalists” and “preformationalists” to current (and in some ways…

Blogging on the Brain: 1/07

Highlights from recent brain blogging: Top 5 Robots of 2006 – the top 5 that we know about, that is. #1 gives you a taste of the current state of robotics. Along those lines, this video about a few precautions we should all take. The Neurophilosopher covers augmented cognition by DARPA, and a recent film…

There are many theories of how human behavior came to differ so profoundly from that of even our closest primate relatives – language, recursion, theory of mind, and enhanced working memory are just a few of the “critical components” that have been proposed as enabling human intelligence. A very different perspective, advocated by Tomasello and…

The prefrontal cortex is a major recipient of subcortical dopaminergic projections. Accordingly, almost all of the behavioral tasks that are known to critically depend on the prefrontal cortex are sensitive to dopamine levels. A curious exception is the Self Ordered Pointing task (SOPT), in which subjects must select each of 9 designs by pointing at…

It seem reasonable that evolution might select for adaptive behaviors by increasing the relative size of particular brain regions that support those behaviors; for example, bats might have an enlarged auditory cortex since they navigate with echolocation. To some extent this does happen, but such differences are often apparent only after controlling for a much…