Developing Intelligence

Archives for October, 2007

Several high-profile studies have shown that bilingual children outperform their monolingual peers in terms of several cognitive abilities – including tests of verbal and nonverbal problem-solving, selective attention, flexibility (e.g., task-switching) and others. These studies have captured the public imagination and probably guided many moms to expose their kids to a second language. But a…

Synaesthesia involves the inappropriate binding of one perception to another – for example, color-grapheme synaesthetes might perceive the letter “h” to be noticeably red, and are actually slower to identify the letter “h” when it is green than when it is red or gray. This “inappropriate binding” of color to other percepts can be disrupted…

One of the more surprising findings to emerge from the intelligence literature is that an individual’s ability to think in highly complex and abstract forms is related to speed in tasks as simple as “press the lighted button.” Simple reaction time tasks like this have amazing predictive power for performance on much more elaborate tasks,…

Several have criticized my post on handedness by pointing to evidence (or hearsay) that animals do have handedness. This evidence comes in several forms: Anecdote: “My cat plays with its right paw” Individual or Activity-Specific Cases: “Horses reliably pick one leg to lead their galloping” or “Chimps prefer to fish with their left hand” Marginal…

New Blog: Cortical Column

Cortical Column is a new blog by computational modeler and volleyball freak Brian Mingus – check out the interesting posts on “The Simulation Argument” and Deep Pressure Stimulation, which is argued to simulate deep brain stimulation of intralaminar thalamic nuclei – noninvasively!

Although most humans are right-handed, other animals don’t seem to show a similar motoric asymmetry. As Corballis mentions in his 2003 BBS article, even the great apes – our closest relatives in the animal kingdom – tend not to show a right-hand preference unless raised in captivity, suggesting handedness is learned through imitation of caregivers.…

Ambiguity is a constant problem for any embodied cognitive agent with limited resources. Decisions need to be made, and their consequences understood, despite the probabilistic veil of uncertainty enveloping everything from sensory input to action execution. Clearly, there must be mechanisms for dealing with or resolving such ambiguity. A nice sample domain for understanding ambiguity…

Children are often thought to be imaginative and fanciful, not only in their perception of the world but also in the veridicality of their memories. It may therefore be surprising that a robust method for eliciting false memories in adults is actually ineffective in children. In fact, children even tend to show better performance than…