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Thread: Brain size, Head size and intelligence

  1. #1 Brain size, Head size and intelligence 
    Forum Ph.D. Heinsbergrelatz's Avatar
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    Is it tue that the larger your head is, the bigger your brain?
    because most of the time(i know this sounds absurd), but scientists and all these intelligent beings seems to have real large heads, compared to normal people.

    or can your have a really small head, and be really intelligent as long as you use your brain well?, because apparently i heard people say if your head is big, your brain is also big in correlation to that, is it true?

    i need some real information that is specific and accurate, its on a project im doing for my Bio coursework
    thank you


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  3. #2  
    Moderator Moderator TheBiologista's Avatar
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    The questions you're asking here and in the other thread would be easily answered with a Google search or by a visit to Wikipedia. Example for this case:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neurosc...d_intelligence


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  4. #3  
    Forum Ph.D. Heinsbergrelatz's Avatar
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    actually, i have searched a lot of information from google, naver, yahoo, livescience etc...
    but, as a matter of fact, they both have convincing opinions on "yes", and at the same time "no", so actually im kind of getting a rough survey, and gonna estimate it,
    and i posted this question of mine here, to hear a wide variety of views and opinions

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    I think the disadvantage with a larger brain is speed. Basically, if the brain's too big it will process information slower, whereas smaller brains process information faster. A larger brain, however, could store a lot more information. So I wouldn't count on measuring intelligence by brain size alone. Other factors, like how the brain is set up, may show that larger would be better, or vice versa.
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    Forum Cosmic Wizard paralith's Avatar
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    Heinsbergrelatz, you're right, there is no agreement in science yet about this. Some researchers like Robert Deaner think absolute brain size is the best indicator of overall intelligence, others think relative brain to body size is the best indicator, others think the best measure is the relative size of specific parts of the brain. It depends on how you measure intelligence as well, which is a controversial topic all it's own.
    Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count on no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth.
    ~Jean-Paul Sartre
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  7. #6  
    Forum Ph.D. Heinsbergrelatz's Avatar
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    oo icic, so actually brain size does decide your intelligence
    but can people with small brain, or head size be extremely intelligent too? smarter than those with bigger heads? or it depends on how much we use our brain in a useful way?
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    I knew a chick that was 5'6" and didn't have an overly large head; she won the top four medals at my university when she graduated. Looked like nothing special at all.

    sensei, instead of teasing this poster who is clearly a little confused, please try and help him/her understand the concepts, or don't bother to post.
    Paralith
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    Encaphalization quotient is generally the method used to determine intelligence that's based on body size and brain size. If I recall correctly, if an animal's size is doubled, its brain size only needs to increase by two-thirds to maintain the same intelligence. I'm sure there are more factors that influence intelligence however than simply a quotient using brain and body mass.
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    Einstein had a smaller head than average, and I think people'll probably agree that he was fairly clever.

    I think a smaller brain has an advantage, because it means the nodes are closer together, and so it runs faster. However, you need a bigger brain to contain the nodes. So there's probably a sort of optimum size for brains, big enough to contain what it needs, but small enough to keep it speedy.
    The wise man believes half of what he reads. If he knew which half to believe, he'd be a much wiser man.
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    , i have searched a lot of information from google, naver, yahoo, livescience etc...
    but, as a matter of fact, they both have convincing opinions on "yes", and at the same time "no", so actually im kind of getting a rough survey, and gonna estimate it,
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  12. #11  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Incoming Dessert
    Einstein had a smaller head than average, and I think people'll probably agree that he was fairly clever.
    Encaphalization quotient is not proportional to brain size, it's proportional to brain size and mass. Thus, knowing the head size of Einstein isn't enough; it's known that he had larger parietal lobes on average, as well as a greater ratio of glial cells to neurons (with a lower than average sized cerebral coretex, causing a high density of brain cells).

    I think a smaller brain has an advantage, because it means the nodes are closer together, and so it runs faster.
    The density of neural networks would influence this, and some aspects of the cerebral cortex, but overall the size of the brain probably wouldn't mean much.
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  13. #12  
    Forum Ph.D. Heinsbergrelatz's Avatar
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    ok, thank you for all your opinion and information, ill try and make a good use of it
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  14. #13  
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    The body size thing has always bugged me, because there is no real connection between the brain and the body size.

    Where we have a real connection is between the brain, and the nerves. The number and importance of nerve endings. Seen that way, we realize that a large body does not necessarily demand more brain. Take the grey whale for example, with its thick insensitive barnicle-crusted hide, and its simplified musculature. Such a body doesn't take much brain. A macaque on the other hand, is alive with senses and complex motor operations that must place a huge demand upon its brain.
    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
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  15. #14  
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    Knowledge is stored in connections, so larger brains are usually more intelligent. There are multiple types of intelligence/other functions of the brain, such as emotional intelligence or habits, so it really depends on what parts are larger. Brains with more connections aren't slower, because there are no new steps involved except more simultaneous inputs to a neuron.
    People's heads aren't just brains. I guess Einstein had a thin skull.
    "It is the ability to make predictions about the future that is the crux of intelligence."
    -Jeff Hawkins.
    For example, you can predict that 3+5=8. You can predict what sequence of muscle commands you should generate during a conversation, or whether an object is a desk or a chair. The brain is very complicated, but that is essentially how intelligence works. Instinct, emotions, and behavior are somewhat seperate.
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    There are 2 way to understand the brain:
    1) connectionism: believing in complex connection & number of connection to store memory
    2) believe in neuron itself can store its own memory.

    Both theory might be correct because:
    1) connectionism appears to work when simulated in computers, but
    2) recent discovery also found out that neuron's support cells (glial) actually could exert control over individual neuron's connection strenght.

    Each neuron might not have that simplistic behaviour we often simulate in computers (aka: connectionism).
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    [QUOTE=msafwan;376145]There are 2 way to understand the brain:
    1) connectionism: believing in complex connection & number of connection to store memory
    2) believe in neuron itself can store its own memory.

    Both theory might be correct because:
    1) connectionism appears to work when simulated in computers, but
    2) recent discovery also found out that neuron's support cells (glial) actually could exert control over individual neuron's connection strenght.

    Each neuron might not have that simplistic behaviour we often simulate in computers (aka: connectionism).[/QUOTE
    I'm getting tired of saying this in every other post in the psycholgy section. Jeff Hawkins' idea which makes complete sense suggests that connectionism is the primary way the brain works. Maybe glial cells work like global neurotransmitters do, changing every neuron in a way that increases the effectiveness of connectionism.
    "It is the ability to make predictions about the future that is the crux of intelligence."
    -Jeff Hawkins.
    For example, you can predict that 3+5=8. You can predict what sequence of muscle commands you should generate during a conversation, or whether an object is a desk or a chair. The brain is very complicated, but that is essentially how intelligence works. Instinct, emotions, and behavior are somewhat seperate.
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  18. #17  
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    Quote Originally Posted by NNet View Post
    I'm getting tired of saying this in every other post in the psycholgy section. Jeff Hawkins' idea which makes complete sense suggests that connectionism is the primary way the brain works. Maybe glial cells work like global neurotransmitters do, changing every neuron in a way that increases the effectiveness of connectionism.
    These support cells might be able to control how efficient our neurons learn & perform task and hence our intelligence. If this is true, then the size of our brain do not necessarily explain our intelligence. ie: a person might have 1% less neurons than average joe but will be smarter and more adaptable if his neurons has optimal learning strategy.

    For example:
    even in computer simulation, the success of NN training is largely based on human operator (us as controller).

    In other case:
    human intelligence is varied by our genetics, but the neurons itself appear the same. This indicate some sort of controls too.
    and the case where brain get smarter as we learn, indicate it obey connectionist model as expected.

    The point is:
    the brain size alone is not an accurate indicator for human intelligence.
    Last edited by msafwan; December 13th, 2012 at 01:56 AM.
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  19. #18  
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    Quote Originally Posted by msafwan View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by NNet View Post
    I'm getting tired of saying this in every other post in the psycholgy section. Jeff Hawkins' idea which makes complete sense suggests that connectionism is the primary way the brain works. Maybe glial cells work like global neurotransmitters do, changing every neuron in a way that increases the effectiveness of connectionism.
    These support cells might be able to control how efficient our neurons learn & perform task and hence our intelligence. If this is true, then the size of our brain do not necessarily explain our intelligence. ie: a person might have 1% less neurons than average joe but will be smarter and more adaptable if his neurons has optimal learning strategy.

    For example:
    even in computer simulation, the success of NN training is largely based on human operator (us as controller).

    In other case:
    human intelligence is varied by our genetics, but the neurons itself appear the same. This indicate some sort of controls too.
    and the case where brain get smarter as we learn, indicate it obey connectionist model as expected.

    The point is:
    the brain size alone is not an accurate indicator for human intelligence.
    I'm not sure what you're arguing for/against. I wasn't saying brain size determines intelligence, although the 1st line of one of my posts might've been confusing. In that post, I mentioned ways larger brains doesn't necessarily mean greater intelligence.
    (Going in order of your points now.)
    Artificial neural nets work completely different from biological neural nets. Here are some examples (not all of these make a difference in this argument):
    -Artificial neural nets give the entire neuron a threshold, whereas real neurons have a threshold for each dendrite, and any dendritic spike causes the neuron to spike
    -Synapsis aren't reliable in real life, so the learning algorithm must account for that.
    -Most artificial neural nets are supervised, whereas the brain uses a learning algorithm which doesn't require supervision.

    The brain alone is an accurate indicator for human intelligence, contrary to popular belief on this forum (the 2 discussions I've had so far were on whether the mind exists eperate from the brain's structure, and this.) I'm not saying that size determines intelligence. I'm saying that the neurons alone are enough, although I don't know anything about glial cells except they're small abundant support cells. If I saw evidence/heard a concept, I would love to explore that possibility. Personally, I don't think glial cells do much because they're small, and neurons need a lot of support. Neurons are microscopic, yet can have 3 foot axons through which electricity passes every few seconds and chemicals are transfered every few seconds. A single cell is not enough to meet the energy/chemical needs of something like this.
    Another reason I don't think glial cells are involved in intelligence is that they're small, so unreliable. Is there any evidence that glial cells interact with neurons other than maintaining them?
    I want to make it really clear that I don't think brain size directly determines intelligence.
    "It is the ability to make predictions about the future that is the crux of intelligence."
    -Jeff Hawkins.
    For example, you can predict that 3+5=8. You can predict what sequence of muscle commands you should generate during a conversation, or whether an object is a desk or a chair. The brain is very complicated, but that is essentially how intelligence works. Instinct, emotions, and behavior are somewhat seperate.
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