Comparative Psychology

Developing Intelligence

Category archives for Comparative Psychology

Stimulating the brain with high frequency electrical noise can supersede the beneficial effects observed from transcranial direct current stimulation, either anodal or cathodal (as well as those observed from sham stimulation), in perceptual learning, as newly reported by Fertonani, Pirully & Miniussi in the Journal of Neuroscience. The authors suggest that transcranial random noise stimulation…

If you ever said to yourself, “I wonder whether the human mid- and posterior ventrolateral prefrontal cortex has a homologue in the monkey, and what features of its cytoarchitecture or subcortical connectivity may differentiate it from other regions of PFC” then this post is for you. Otherwise, move along.

A really excellent PBS CBC (thanks m5) documentary on the surprising cognitive abilities of crows: Watch the full episode. See more Nature. See also how crows might be trained to do something a little more lucrative:

In an update to their groundbreaking earlier demonstration that high-IQ children initially show a thinner cortex, and later show an initially thicker one than their average-IQ peers, Shaw et al. have now documented those trajectories of cortical thickening which are invariant to socio-economic status and IQ, but vary between regions of the brain. These videos…

In their already-classic 2001 article, Miller & Cohen use a “train track” metaphor to illustrate the function of prefrontal cortex. The idea is that myriad learned associations interconnect sensory representations with motor commands (metaphorically, these are the “train tracks”). The important associations will change depending on the animal’s current task (these are the “switching stations”…

Over New Year’s I had a brief discussion with a condensed-matter physicist who proclaimed that 1) “some developmental research is amazingly bad” and that 2) “they think they can tell what a baby has learned from what direction it looks,” topping it all off with 3) “you guys don’t even know what learning is!” I…

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…

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.…

In 1948, Alan Turing wrote: “An unwillingness to admit the possibility that mankind can have any rivals in intellectual power occurs as much amongst intellectual people as amongst others: they have more to lose.” Accordingly, comprehensive comparisons between the intellectual powers of great apes and humans are rare – perhaps because we feel safe in…

A lack of clear definitions for terms like “intelligence” and “consciousness” plagues any serious discussion of those concepts. A recent article by Seth, Baars & Edelman argues for a core set of 17 properties that are characteristic of consciousness, and could be used in the “diagnosis” of consciousness in humans and other animals. Property 1:…