Developing Intelligence

Archives for September, 2008

If you said 1/1000, you’ve given the answer provided more often by second graders than by undergraduates. And you’re also right.

My friend Geoff once said that “all cognition is social.” Smugly, I reminded myself that the conclusions of cognitive psychologists are drawn on evidence where social cues are kept constant. But even in the absence of confounding social cues, perhaps the underlying cognitive processes themselves are caused by social factors. A great example of this…

Much has been written about the nonspatial functions of the parietal lobe, but these nonspatial functions are rarely evaluated as to whether they are also nonmotoric or reflect some covert form of spatial attention. Establishing whether the parietal lobe has truly nonmotoric and nonspatial functions is essential for understanding why parietal cortex appears to be…

Much evidence supports the idea that parietal cortex is involved in the simple maintenance of information, such as in object permanence paradigms (also here) and other tasks. This evidence is part of the justification for the “parietofrontal integration theory”, which suggests that parietal areas work in concert with prefrontal regions of the brain to accomplish…

Visual perception is constantly challenged by visual occlusion: objects in our environment constantly obscure one another, and seem to “disappear” when in fact they are nonetheless present. Young infants begin to demonstrate a basic understanding of “object permanence” at some point during the first six months of life. On more complex tasks, understanding of object…

An absence of evidence is not itself evidence for the absence of a particular effect. This simple problem – generally known as the problem of null effects – yields many difficulties in cognitive science, making it relatively easier to parcellate cognitive and neural processes into ever-finer detail than to show when two processes are identical.…