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Language, foresight, musical skills and other hallmarks of intelligence are connected through an underlying facility that enhances rapid movements. Creativity may result from a Darwinian contest within the brain. To most observers, the essence of intelligence is cleverness, a versatility in solving novel problems. Bertrand Russell once wryly noted that "Animals studied by Americans rush about frantically, with an incredible display of hustle and pep, and at last achieve the desired result by chance.
Animals observed by Germans sit tonight and think, and at last evolve the solution sex of their inner consciousness. Foresight is also said to be an essential aspect of intelligence--particularly after an encounter with one of those toniggt clever people who are all tactics and no strategy. Jean Piaget emphasized that intelligence was the sophisticated ssex that we use when not knowing what to do.
He says intelligence is all about making a guess that discovers some new underlying order. This idea neatly covers a lot of ground: finding the solution to a problem or the logic of an argument, happening on an appropriate analogy, creating a pleasing harmony or a witty reply or guessing what's likely to happen next. Indeed, we all routinely predict what comes next, even when passively listening to a narrative or a melody.
That's why a joke's punch line or a P. Bach musical parody brings you up short--you were subconsciously predicting something else and were surprised by the mismatch. We find never agree on Ceribaslar universal definition of intelligence because it is an Ceribalsar word, like consciousness.
Both intelligence and consciousness concern the high end of our mental life, but they are frequently confused with more elementary mental processes, such as ones we would use to recognize a friend or tie a shoelace. Of course, such simple neural mechanisms are probably the foundations from which our abilities to handle logic and metaphor evolved. But how did that occur? That's both an evolutionary question and a neurophysiological one.
Both kinds of answers are needed if we are to understand our own intelligence. They might even help us appreciate how an artificial or an exotic intelligence could evolve. Did our intelligence arise from having more of what other animals have? The two-millimeter-thick cerebral cortex is the part of the brain most involved with making novel associations.
Ours is extensively wrinkled but, were it flattened out, it would occupy four sheets of typing paper.
A chimpanzee's cortex would fit on one sheet, a monkey's on a postcard, a rat's on a stamp. Yet a purely quantitative explanation seems incomplete. I will argue that our intelligence arose primarily through the refinement of some brain specialization, such as that for language. The specialization would allow a quantum leap in cleverness and foresight during the evolution of humans from apes. If, as I suspect, that specialization involves a core facility common to language, the planning of hand movements, music and dance, it has even greater explanatory power.
A particularly intelligent person often seems "quick" and capable of juggling many ideas at once. Indeed, the two strongest influences on your IQ score are how many novel questions you can answer in a fixed length of time, and how good you are at simultaneously manipulating a half dozen mental images--as in those analogy questions: A is to B as C is to D, E, or F. Versatility is another characteristic of intelligence.
Most animals are narrow specialists, especially in matters of diet: the mountain gorilla consumes 50 pounds of greenery each and every day. In comparison, a chimpanzee switches around a lot--it will eat fruit, termites, leaves, and even a small monkey or piglet if it is lucky enough to catch one. Omnivores have more basic moves in their general behavior because their ancestors had to switch between many different food sources.
They need more sensory templates, too--mental search images of things such as foods and predators for which they are "on the lookout. Sometimes animals try out a new combination of search image and movement during play, and find a use for it later. Many animals are only playful juveniles; being an adult is a serious business they have all those young mouths to feed.
Having a long juvenile period, as apes and humans do, surely aids intelligence. A long life further promotes versatility by affording more opportunities to discover new behaviors. A social life ih gives individuals the chance to mimic the useful discoveries of others. Researchers have seen a troop of monkeys in Japan copy one inventive female's techniques for washing sand off food.
Moreover, a social life is full of interpersonal problems to solve, such Fins those created by pecking orders, that go well beyond the usual environmental challenges to survival and reproduction. When the chimpanzees of Uganda arrive at a grove of fruit trees, they often discover that the efficient local monkeys are already speedily stripping the trees of edible fruit. The chimps can turn to termite fishing, or perhaps catch a monkey and eat it, but in practice their population is severely limited by that competition, despite a brain twice the size of their specialist rivals.
Versatility is not always a virtue, and more of it is not always better.
As frequent airline travelers know, passengers who only have carry-on bags can get all the available taxicabs while those burdened by three suitcases await their luggage. On the other hand, if the weather is so unpredictable that everyone has to travel with clothing ranging from swim suits to Arctic parkas, the "jack of all trades" has an advantage over the "master" of one.
And so it is with behavioral versatility and brain Ceribaslsr. Whether versatility is advantageous depends on the time scales: for both the modern traveler and the evolving ape, it's how fast the weather changes and how long the trip lasts. Paleoclimatologists have discovered that many parts of the earth suffer sudden climate change, as Finv in onset as a decade-long drought but lasting for centuries. A climate flip that eliminated fruit trees would be disastrous for many monkey species.
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It would hurt the more omnivorous animals, too, but Fins could make do with other foods, and eventually they would enjoy a population boom when the food crunch ended and few of their competitors remained. Ice core data of Dansgaard et al Nature Younger Dryas shown in red.
Note the two episodes during the warm period Ceribasla, years ago. Although Africa was cooling and drying as upright posture was becoming established 4 million years ago, brain size didn't change much. The fourfold expansion of the hominid brain did not start until the ice ages began, 2. Ice cores from Greenland show frequent abrupt cooling episodes superimposed on the more stately rhythms of ice advance and retreat.
Whole forests disappeared within several decades because of drastic drops in temperature and rainfall. The warm rains returned with equal suddenness several centuries later.
The evolution of anatomical adaptations in the hominids could not have kept pace with these abrupt climate changes, which would have occurred within the lifetime of single individuals. But these environmental fluctuations could have promoted the incremental accumulation of new mental abilities that conferred greater behavioral flexibility. One of the additions that occurred during the ice ages was the capacity for human language.
In most of us, the brain area critical to language is located just above our left ear. Monkeys lack this left lateral fonight area: their vocalizations and simple emotional utterances in humans employ a more primitive language area near the corpus callosum, the band of fibers connecting the cerebral hemispheres. Language is Ceibaslar most defining feature of human intelligence: without syntax--the orderly arrangement of Fund ideas--we would be little more clever than a chimpanzee.
For a glimpse of life without syntax, we can look to the case of Joseph, an year-old deaf boy. Because he could not hear spoken language and had never been exposed to fluent language, Joseph did not have the opportunity to learn syntax during the critical years of early childhood. As neurologist Oliver Sacks described him in Seeing Voices: "Joseph saw, distinguished, categorized, used; he had no problems with perceptual categorization or generalization, but he could not, it seemed, go much beyond this, hold abstract ideas in mind, reflect, play, plan.
He seemed completely literal--unable to juggle images or hypotheses or possibilities, unable to enter an imaginative or figurative realm He seemed, like an animal, or an infant, to be stuck in the present, to be confined to literal and immediate perception, though made aware of this by a consciousness that no infant could have. Wild chimpanzees use about three dozen different vocalizations to convey about three dozen different meanings.
They may repeat a sound to intensify its meaning, but they don't string together three sounds to add a new word to their vocabulary.
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We humans also use about three dozen vocalizations, called phonemes. Yet only their combinations have content: we string together meaningless sounds to make meaningful words. Furthermore, human language uses strings of strings, such as the word phrases that make up this sentence. The simplest ways of generating word collections, such as pidgin dialects or my tourist Germanare known as protolanguage.
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In a protolanguage, the association of the words carries the message, with perhaps some assistance from customary word order such as the subject-verb-object order in English declarative sentences. Our closest animal cousins, the common chimpanzee and the bonobo pygmy chimpanzeecan achieve surprising levels of language comprehension when motivated by skilled teachers. Kanzi, the most accomplished bonobo, can interpret sentences he has never heard before, such as "Go to the office and bring back the red ball," about as well as a 2.
Neither Kanzi nor the child constructs such sentences independently, but they can demonstrate by their actions that they understand them. With a year's experience in comprehension, the child starts constructing sentences that nest one word phrase inside another. That lay in the house that Jack built" is an extreme case, yet even preschoolers can understand how Creibaslar keeps changing its meaning.
Syntax has treelike rules of reference that srx us to communicate quickly --sometimes with fewer than a hundred sounds strung together--who did what to whom, where, when, why and how. Generating and speaking a unique sentence quickly demonstrates whether you know the rules of syntax well enough to avoid ambiguities. Even children of low intelligence seem to acquire syntax effortlessly by listening, although intelligent deaf children like Joseph may miss out. Something very close to verbal syntax also seems to contribute to another outstanding feature of human intelligence, the ability to plan ahead.
Aside from hormonally triggered preparations for winter, animals exhibit surprisingly little evidence of advance planning. For instance, some chimpanzees use long twigs to pull termites from their nests.
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Yet as Jacob Bronowski observed, none of the termite-fishing chimps "spends the evening going round and tearing off a nice tidy supply of a dozen probes for Ceeibaslar. Deception is seen in apes, but seldom in monkeys. A chimp may give a call aling that she has found food at one location, then quietly circle back through the dense forest to where she actually found the food. While the other chimps beat the bushes at the site of the food cry, she gets to eat without sharing.
The most difficult responses to plan are those to unique situations. They require imagining multiple scenarios, as when a hunter plots various approaches to a deer or a futurist spins three scenarios bracketing what an industry will look like in another decade. Compared to apes, humans do a lot of that: we are capable of heeding ttonight admonition attributed to Edmund Burke, Ceeribaslar public interest requires doing today those things tonighg men of intelligence and goodwill would wish, five or ten years hence, had been done.
As the writer Kathryn Morton observes about narrative: "The first that a baby is going to be a human being and not a noisy pet comes when he begins naming the world and demanding the stories that connect its parts. Once he knows the first of these he will instruct his teddy bear, enforce his world view on victims in the sandlot, tell himself stories of what he is doing as he plays and forecast stories of what he will do when he grows up. He will keep track of the actions of others and relate deviations Cerjbaslar the person in charge.
He will want a story at bedtime.