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Human Brains Unlikely to Evolve Into a 'Supermind', Price to Pay Would Be Too High
Yer
post Dec 9 2011, 11:30 PM
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Human minds have hit an evolutionary "sweet spot" and -- unlike computers -- cannot continually get smarter without trade-offs elsewhere, according to research by the University of Warwick.

Researchers asked the question why we are not more intelligent than we are given the adaptive evolutionary process. Their conclusions show that you can have too much of a good thing when it comes to mental performance.

The evidence suggests that for every gain in cognitive functions, for example better memory, increased attention or improved intelligence, there is a price to pay elsewhere -- meaning a highly-evolved "supermind" is the stuff of science fiction.

University of Warwick psychology researcher Thomas Hills and Ralph Hertwig of the University of Basel looked at a range of studies, including research into the use of drugs like Ritalan which help with attention, studies of people with autism as well as a study of the Ashkenazi Jewish population.

For instance, among individuals with enhanced cognitive abilities- such as savants, people with photographic memories, and even genetically segregated populations of individuals with above average IQ, these individuals often suffer from related disorders, such as autism, debilitating synaesthesia and neural disorders linked with enhanced brain growth.

Similarly, drugs like Ritalan only help people with lower attention spans whereas people who don't have trouble focusing can actually perform worse when they take attention-enhancing drugs.

Dr Hills said: "These kinds of studies suggest there is an upper limit to how much people can or should improve their mental functions like attention, memory or intelligence.

"Take a complex task like driving, where the mind needs to be dynamically focused, attending to the right things such as the road ahead and other road users -- which are changing all the time.

"If you enhance your ability to focus too much, and end up over-focusing on specific details, like the driver trying to hide in your blind spot, then you may fail to see another driver suddenly veering into your lane from the other direction.

"Or if you drink coffee to make yourself more alert, the trade-off is that it is likely to increase your anxiety levels and lose your fine motor control. There are always trade-offs.

"In other words, there is a 'sweet spot' in terms of enhancing our mental abilities -- if you go beyond that spot -- just like in the fairy-tales -- you have to pay the price."

The research, entitled Why Aren't We Smarter Already: Evolutionary Trade-Offs and Cognitive Enhancements, is published in Current Directions in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/...11207104821.htm

Everything makes sense now. embarassedlaugh.gif
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fivers
post Dec 10 2011, 03:10 PM
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hmm interesting.. I didn't know about the coffee and losing fine motor control icon_smile.gif
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QSC
post Dec 11 2011, 07:22 AM
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Human minds have hit an evolutionary "sweet spot" and -- unlike computers -- cannot continually get smarter without trade-offs elsewhere, according to research by the University of Warwick.



This is just common sense for those who interact with people one to one on a daily basis. Those who fall within the genius level will also have characteristics of insanity at times.
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phop
post Dec 19 2011, 03:30 AM
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QUOTE (Yer @ Dec 10 2011, 12:30 AM) *

That explain why highly intelligent people in the past and present have difficult communicating with others while everyone look at them as some weird person. It also explain why certain physical features are more common in dumber person than it is in a smarter person.
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SemperFidelis
post Dec 19 2011, 04:11 AM
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QUOTE (phop @ Dec 19 2011, 02:00 PM) *
That explain why highly intelligent people in the past and present have difficult communicating with others while everyone look at them as some weird person. It also explain why certain physical features are more common in dumber person than it is in a smarter person.

which physical features are you talking about?
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Suijen
post Dec 22 2011, 06:59 AM
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How disappointing. Can't we "evolve" those deficiencies out?
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InitialDJay
post Dec 23 2011, 01:18 AM
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i guess there's no point in iq evolution debate. embarassedlaugh.gif

This post has been edited by InitialDJay: Dec 23 2011, 01:18 AM
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Yer
post Dec 24 2011, 12:20 AM
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QUOTE (Suijen @ Dec 22 2011, 07:59 AM) *
How disappointing. Can't we "evolve" those deficiencies out?

According to the article, nope.
I'm trying to imagine how evolving out these deficiencies would work. I think the only way would be for the brain to expand, but that means the head would get bigger and the body more awkward. Initially, this might pose more problems than advantages.

QUOTE (InitialDJay @ Dec 23 2011, 01:18 AM) *
i guess there's no point in iq evolution debate. embarassedlaugh.gif

I still think it's a bit pointless to try to define a general intelligence factor. embarassedlaugh.gif
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InitialDJay
post Dec 24 2011, 01:39 AM
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QUOTE (Yer @ Dec 24 2011, 01:20 PM) *
According to the article, nope.
I'm trying to imagine how evolving out these deficiencies would work. I think the only way would be for the brain to expand, but that means the head would get bigger and the body more awkward. Initially, this might pose more problems than advantages.

i feel you are describing this laugh.gif



QUOTE
I still think it's a bit pointless to try to define a general intelligence factor. embarassedlaugh.gif

true. why are people love to talk about iq so much? embarassedlaugh.gif
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