Developing Intelligence

Archives for April, 2007

Right now, you’re blind at one particular part of your visual field – because you have no photoreceptors at the location on your retina where the optic nerve begins its journey to visual cortex. Normally, you’re unaware of this blind spot because of perceptual “filling-in” – a mechanism by which your brain actively fabricates the…

Given a fixed amount of computational power in designing an intelligent system, there is a necessary tradeoff between how many resources are devoted solely to the current task, and how many resources are devoted to monitoring for information that may be important but is not necessarily relevant to the current task. If more resources are…

“To understand ourselves, we must embrace the alien.” – PZ Meyers One difficulty in understanding consciousness is the fact that we know of only one species that certainly possesses it: humans. A new article by Jennifer Mather suggests that octopi may also possess consciousness, despite the vastly different architecture of their brain. If two very…

“Instead of trying to produce a programme to simulate the adult mind, why not rather try to produce one which simulates the child’s?” – Alan Turing (Computing Machinery, p456) One of the defining features of childhood cognition is “behaving without thinking.” Not surprisingly, developmental cognitive psychology has latched onto the idea of impulse control –…

How does the brain exert flexible control over behavior? One idea is that high-level areas of the brain self-organize representations that lead to reward in a certain task, in a sense by “programming” or “executing” a pattern of activity that controls activity in more posterior and domain-specific regions (i.e., sensory or motor cortex). This portrays…

Everyone does something they later regret. Can you ever intentionally forget that you did it? The idea of memory repression has rarely been considered within scientific psychology, but the processes involved in intentional forgetting (also covered last week) are the focus of a recent article by Michael Anderson. In his article, Anderson argues that the…