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Thread: Is SMARTNESS just an illusion?

  1. #1 Is SMARTNESS just an illusion? 
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    Hi, why are some humans just "smarter" than others? Is it innate? Is it nurtured? It seems that people who do things that interest them seem to do well overall whether they are smart or not. But then again, why would humans be smarter than all other animals? I guess there are arguments for both ways(nature vs. nurture).


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  3. #2 Re: Is SMARTNESS just an illusion? 
    Forum Cosmic Wizard paralith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Infinitism
    Hi, why are some humans just "smarter" than others? Is it innate? Is it nurtured? It seems that people who do things that interest them seem to do well overall whether they are smart or not. But then again, why would humans be smarter than all other animals? I guess there are arguments for both ways(nature vs. nurture).
    My friend, this entire argument hinges on exactly how you define "smart," or the more preferred term, "intelligence." Until we find an exact, quantifiable definition for intelligence we can't make any realistic comparisons of intelligence between individual humans or between species. And the definition of intelligence is a topic of hot debate. I personally think we'll have to wait for the appropriate breakthroughs in neurobiology before the subject can be put to rest.


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  4. #3  
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    True however it is undeniable that humans have a larger brain:body mass ratio to any other animal.
    Just to point out it was recently discovered that chimps have a greater memory than humans. so they may indeed be smarter in that respect.
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    Forum Cosmic Wizard i_feel_tiredsleepy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robbie
    True however it is undeniable that humans have a larger brain:body mass ratio to any other animal.
    Just to point out it was recently discovered that chimps have a greater memory than humans. so they may indeed be smarter in that respect.
    They found that the chimps had greater short term memory for patterns, but that they degenerated much quicker than humans. So, the human brain is better adapted for long life. Moreover, this could just mean that for some reason chimps have evolved to focus on patterns and remembering the short term, and humans could have evolved to focus more on reasoning and understanding with less focus on short term memory. There is room for huge discoveries in neuroscience.
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    Administrator KALSTER's Avatar
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    And similarly, I remember reading that Neanderthals had bigger brains. The shape of their craniums suggest that they were not as good at reasoning, but may have had better long term memories than us. I am not sure though if the shape of the cranium is enough to be sure about that.
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    There is a general correlation between brain size and approximated intelligence if you compare a broad range of species. However, at finer levels, say between groups of closely related sister species and across the individuals within a single species, brain size most certainly isn't the whole story. The actual structure of the brain and how its organized can become much more indicative.
    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.
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    Administrator KALSTER's Avatar
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    Of course one has to take account of the relative mass between the organism and it's brain, no?
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

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    Forum Cosmic Wizard paralith's Avatar
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    Oops - yes, I meant relative brain size.
    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.
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  10. #9  
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    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    And similarly, I remember reading that Neanderthals had bigger brains.
    That is true, our ancestors had bigger brains then we do. Where they smarter? Hard to know, since they no longer exists

    On the question of why some humans are "smarter" then others, its hard to truly say.

    One aspect could be genetics, I'd have to find the articles I've read a few years back, but lately there are some theories that memories are not just stored in your "brain" even thought that can't exactly be proved, but it is believed that they might be stored in your DNA.

    This being said, a hypothesis about some humans being smarter then others could be logically said that his ancestors had gathered much information in their lifetime and thus imprinted in one's DNA his familly inherently becomes smarter.

    But, on my pure opinion of why some people are smarter then others, I say its totally psychological. I have a huge thirst for knowledge and I continuously read on various subjects and gather information. I for one, Love learning. On the other hand, my roomate feels dumb compared to me, but all he does is play video games all day and his entire life is centered on these.

    Intelligence in my opinion is truly decided upon the individual, unless you have a mental disability.

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    One thing I was thinking about was the effect the birth canal would have on the shape of the head. It might not have a big effect on the facial features, but the general shape of the cranium can vary significantly, I think? Does anyone have an idea what the gestation period of Neanderthals were or what the average size of a newborn might have been compared to the size of the birth canal? I am thinking that the more pronounced the effect, the less one would be able to infer from the shape of a Neanderthal cranium?
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

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  12. #11  
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    Quote Originally Posted by paralith
    Oops - yes, I meant relative brain size.
    Although the brain size of your relatives would also be a factor.
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  13. #12  
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    Brain size does not affect overall intelligence (in humans, between species it does). As for the original post, it all comes down to genetics. All people are genetically diverse. Some enjoy the stereotypically "intelligent" activities and others do not. It does not make anyone smarter than anyone else. Wisdom, Intelligence, there is no definition for "smart".

    Those are purely my beliefs. Do not take anything the wrong way.
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  14. #13  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skiyk
    As for the original post, it all comes down to genetics. All people are genetically diverse.
    Genetics play a strong role but there is also a large component of the environment in the development of intelligence. In an earlier thread I quoted a study about it; if I recall correctly, twin studies suggest that it's about 50:50.
    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.
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  15. #14  
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    Really?

    That is interesting. :-D

    I always found that twins were an outlier in a scatter plot
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  16. #15  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skiyk
    Really?

    That is interesting. :-D

    I always found that twins were an outlier in a scatter plot
    They are limited in their informative-ness, I'll definitely grant you. But at this point the current consensus is that intelligence is most certainly not 100% genetic.
    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.
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  17. #16  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard i_feel_tiredsleepy's Avatar
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    Ya your eventual intelligence is largely dependent on the environment, especially early childhood development. Moreover, that twin study doesn't illustrate how important the diet of the mother during pregnancy could be to brain development either.
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  18. #17  
    Forum Sophomore Skiyk's Avatar
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    True, a mixture of both would create a more "intelligent" child. Assuming that the child was brought up lovingly (i.e. eats dinner together, encouraged to excel) and is from a family of intelligent individuals.
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