The Origin of Mind: Evolution of Brain, Cognition, and General Intelligence, by David

by Scientific Method
Tags: brain, cognition, david, evolution, intelligence, mind, origin
Scientific Method
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Jan30-05, 12:40 AM
P: 57

I liked the book The Origin of Mind: Evolution of Brain, Cognition, and General Intelligence, by David C. Geary, 2005 because it not only discusses some of the latest research on human intelligence, but it also discussed how social interaction and competition for resources for reproductive success selected for higher intelligence. Here are some excerpts from the book:

"Rather than physical competition or direct status-related activities, female-on-female aggression is more commonly relational. It involves learning about the emotional states, secrets, intentions, and so on of other women and, if necessary, using this information to manipulate the web of social relationships within which the women are embedded."

"The basic argument is that many of the same mechanisms that support the motivation to control, such as efficiency of working memory and problem-solving mechanisms, appear to contribute to individual differences in general intelligence. The motivation to control thus provides the link between models of brain and cognitive evolution and empirical research on general intelligence."

"Given the strong coupling between coalitional dominance and this array of survival and reproductive outcomes, selection will by necessity favor individuals with the social and cognitive competencies needed to develop, maintain, and successfully use such coalitions…. The basic human social structure is presumed to consist of kinship groups that cooperate to compete with other kinship groups over control of resource-rich ecologies and to manipulate reproductive dynamics. Within-group relationships will entail a balance of cooperation to meet shared goals and conflict because of divergent goals. In theory and typically in practice, the relative bias toward cooperation or conflict varies directly with the degree of genetic relatedness between the individuals. When combined with the potential for group-level conflict, these within-group dynamics create pressures for the evolutionary elaboration of a folk psychological system, as many contemporary scientists have emphasized and as Darwin suggested more than 130 years ago."

"Women, of course, form cooperative social groups, but typically within territory defined by men's coalitions. Participation in these social networks provides women with social and emotional support and stability for themselves and their children. Stability of the social network, including the marital relationship, improves physical and psychological health and, through this, survival prospects of children in some contexts (United Nations, 1985). Unlike that of men, female–female competition is not coalitional but is still related to attempts to achieve access to desired resources, including mates."

"The implication [for our high intelligence] is that there might have been a co-evolving relation between self-awareness and theory of mind. Self-awareness is in effect the counterstrategy to other people's ability to see through one's social deceptions and make inferences about underlying goals and motives."This means we have evolved a high level of intelligence for the purpose of deception, self-deception, coalition building, dominance, and indoctrinability. Few people have the openness and/or intelligence to question the current dogmas that we swallow from out leaders and institutions.

"For the 200 high school students who participated, intelligence and motivation and persistence were unrelated. A combination of performance on two IQ tests explained 40% of the individual differences in academic achievement, and persistence measures explained between 6% and 10% of these individual differences; the motivational measures were unrelated to achievement…. Before World War II, family background explained 47% of the individual differences in educational outcomes. Following the war and the liberalization of educational opportunity, family background explained less than 10% of the individual differences in years of schooling."

"There have been numerous environmental enrichment interventions, such as Head Start, designed to improve the cognitive and social competencies of children living in poverty or other difficult circumstances. These types of interventions appear to result in a number of beneficial outcomes, including improved academic functioning. Many of these interventions were not designed to target children's general intelligence per se, but nonetheless have been used to assess whether such enrichment can improve intellectual functioning. The interpretation of these studies results is hotly debated and is beyond the scope of this book. The bottom line is that many of these interventions are initially associated with modest, and sometimes substantial, improvements in IQ scores, but most of these gains fade with time."

"Moreover, the dimension of personality known as openness to experience is also correlated with gC but not with gF. Overall, it appears that the processes that define gF, the brain and cognitive systems associated with long-term memory formation, and the dimension of personality associated with interest in new experiences interact to create crystallized knowledge…. When high fluid intelligence and a strong long-term memory system is combined with an interest in seeking novel experiences, the result is the acquisition of a large store of crystallized knowledge, gC, over the life span."

"However, intelligence is not the only predictor of job performance. Several dimensions of personality, especially conscientiousness and integrity, add significantly to the predictive validity of intelligence. Conscientiousness is a major dimension of human personality and reflects individual differences in the extent to which the individual is dependable, careful, and responsible in social relationships and day-to-day activities. Integrity tests appear to assess a combination of conscientiousness, emotional stability, and the extent to which the individual is socially cooperative. Individuals who score low on measures of integrity show more job-related theft, absenteeism, and disciplinary problems than do other individuals.”
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Scientific Method
Scientific Method is offline
Feb1-05, 09:30 PM
P: 57
A good review of this book along with a lot more informative excerpts from the book can be found at this link.
selfAdjoint is offline
Feb2-05, 01:52 PM
PF Gold
P: 8,147
Quote Quote by Scientific Method
A good review of this book along with a lot more informative excerpts from the book can be found at this link.
The guy at that link is a dreamer. His is hoping for vindication of The Bell Curve as soon as they find intelligence genes. But it follows mathematically from the fact that IQ varies almost continuously, instead of sorting into a few buckets, that intelligence is governed by a large number of genes. And indeed researchers comment that the few genes identified so far - which reduce IQ in certain families, are of obscure efffect, i.e. nobody knows how they do what they do. So there isn't going to be any big publicity breakthrough.

And any way, the attack on TBC was not about IQ per se but about the apparent diss of the black community. That plus the marxoid tablua rasists.

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