How a-priori intelligence is even possible?

  • #1
CGandC
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By a-priori intelligence I mean for example:
1. when a human toddler is born he's born with the intelligence to seek for a breast to feed on.
2. sea turtles - the moment they are born on the beach they know that they must immediately to run into the ocean.
3. baby ducks - the first duck they see upon some stage in their growth they will recognize it as their mother and will follow it.Where is this a-priori intelligence stored in the brain?
Is it possible to do genetic modifications to an organism so that one can choose what a-priori intelligence it will be born with? ( assuming one knows how to encode knowledge into genetic code )
 
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  • #2
These sophisticated vertebrate animals you sight may have amazing behavioral knowledge, but they also have a long and complex period of development to set-up their brains to do this.
Your brain comes loaded with a lot of "features":
For example, the ability to place audio sources or visual objects in a 3D space centered on you already established at birth or soon after and place things within.
Seeking particular items: water, breast, or big moving thing is just a neural circuit ready to be triggered. These are build developmentally befor they are used.
Nervous systems can do amazing things, eve the little ones.

CGandC said:
Where is this a-priori intelligence stored in the brain?
What definition of intelligence are you using?
Assuming you mean the ability to do adaptive things that keep them alive, then to a large degree, yes it would be in the brain. On the other hand, it would not seem right to me to lay all th responsibility on a single part of the brain.

However, arguments might be made about the physical structure being involved in the total overall mechanism. Like a mechanical governor on a steam engine. A control process made solid.

CGandC said:
Is it possible to do genetic modifications to an organism so that one can choose what a-priori intelligence it will be born with? ( assuming one knows how to encode knowledge into genetic code )
Yes, but only small and crude ones now.
Mutations affecting behaviors of various kinds have been found in fruitflies, C.elegans worms, mice and zebrafish. Darwin in The Origin of Species (1859) talked about the different kinds of pidgeon breeds that had unusual inherited behaviors.
This is exactly what you wanted, but what can be achieved is limited by genetic techniques and social morals (for humans).
Not enough is known of most developmental processes to make them manipulable to produce novel structures (structure of the nervous system makes behaviors).
 
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  • #3
BillTre said:
These sophisticated vertebrate animals you sight may have amazing behavioral knowledge, but they also have a long and complex period of development to set-up their brains to do this.
Your brain comes loaded with a lot of "features":
For example, the ability to place audio sources or visual objects in a 3D space centered on you already established at birth or soon after and place things within.
Seeking particular items: water, breast, or big moving thing is just a neural circuit ready to be triggered. These are build developmentally befor they are used.
Nervous systems can do amazing things, eve the little ones.What definition of intelligence are you using?
Assuming you mean the ability to do adaptive things that keep them alive, then to a large degree, yes it would be in the brain. On the other hand, it would not seem right to me to lay all th responsibility on a single part of the brain.

However, arguments might be made about the physical structure being involved in the total overall mechanism. Like a mechanical governor on a steam engine. A control process made solid.Yes, but only small and crude ones now.
Mutations affecting behaviors of various kinds have been found in fruitflies, C.elegans worms, mice and zebrafish. Darwin in The Origin of Species (1859) talked about the different kinds of pidgeon breeds that had unusual inherited behaviors.
This is exactly what you wanted, but what can be achieved is limited by genetic techniques and social morals (for humans).
Not enough is known of most developmental processes to make them manipulable to produce novel structures (structure of the nervous system makes behaviors).
"Cite" Bill ;)
 
  • #4
Inherent problems exist with the concept of intelligence.

E O Wilson's Sociobiology (most libraries have a copy) explores the fact that complex communication facilitates "intelligent" responses to environmental threats or changes. Ants using chemical pheromones and human speech are both good examples of complexity in behaviors. Birds have fewer limited "calls" for a more limited range of responses.

What communication at almost any level means that groups of individuals can respond as a coordinated group. Which usually provides increased survival for individuals. Flocking, (V formations, group ascensions ), alarm calls, imprinting, and territorial mating calls are examples for birds.

Interestingly birds of different species can get the danger message from other species, sort of a meta-species response.

The problem is that humans languages can add innuendo to simple behaviors like these, and term them as instinct. But we may not usually label children's language learning that way.

The real point is that coordinated group response to environments changing is very adaptive. Humans are very good at it. And large numbers of humans working together can create powerful environmental changes.

Interspecific bird alarm calls example:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2391208/
 
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  • #5
I remember (>50 yrs ago) something from the (famous at Cornell) James Maas Psych 101 course about the response of very young human children to the "visual cliff" which showed the fear of a cliff edge was evident very early on. (this is my entire expertise on the subject, so I figured I should offer it)
 
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  • #6
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  • #7
Yep that's the one.... I recall that picture of the table. Thanks. I was too danged lazy to look it up.
 
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  • #8
This is "intelligence-from-birth" phenomenon is more typically called ... instincts or reflexes. They're hard-wired in utero, like the sens of hearing and turning toward a sound.

Humans have a bunch of interesting reflexes.
  • Water on the face of a newly delivered baby will cause them to hold their breath. That's how water births work - the newborn does not attempt to breathe until its face is out of the water.
  • Grasping reflex (stick your finger in their open hand.
  • Startle Reflex (let their head drop and their arms will fly out in a protective gesture).
TIL the difference between an instinct and a reflex.
  • Reflexes are simple reactions driven by an external stimulus; they are not spontaneous or voluntary, they always happen with the stimulus (eg. breathing when exposed to air, startle reflex, etc ).
  • Instincts are generally more complex, and can be driven by internal stimulus; they can be spontaneous and voluntary. Many simpler animals have instinctive behaviors (like,say, crawling toward the safety of the surf), but humans have very few, if any.
 
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  • #9
How can suddenly acquired skills,with no previous training or experience in the skill occur.
This usually occurs after a brain injury,such as people awaking from a coma and speaking a foreign language,or having high skill playing the piano or other instrument.Is this information buried somewhere in the brain,and the injury caused a"shift" in the brain information channel like when a radio or tv channel is changed?
A woman recovered from a coma and could speak only German,and had no exposure to German in her life.
He natural language was English.
 
  • #10
inquisitive mind said:
A woman recovered from a coma and could speak only German,and had no exposure to German in her life.
I suspect there is some mundane explanation for this that has been "lost" in the retelling.
 
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  • #11
DaveC426913 said:
I suspect there is some mundane explanation for this that has been "lost" in the retelling.

Yeah. . . you might be right ? . :wink:
1703983957784.png


.
 
  • #12
inquisitive mind said:
How can suddenly acquired skills,with no previous training or experience in the skill occur.
Lots on animals do this. Experience is acquired through selection in previous generations and stored as the result of more successful animals being selected and reproducing. Their offspring then develop their nervous systems with the capabilities to use those selected skills.

inquisitive mind said:
This usually occurs after a brain injury,such as people awaking from a coma and speaking a foreign language,or having high skill playing the piano or other instrument.Is this information buried somewhere in the brain,and the injury caused a"shift" in the brain information channel like when a radio or tv channel is changed?
No reasonable response can be made without a useful reference for this. There are too many possible unstated variables.

inquisitive mind said:
A woman recovered from a coma and could speak only German,and had no exposure to German in her life.
He natural language was English.
No reasonable response can be made without a useful reference for this. There are too many possible unstated variables.
 
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  • #13
inquisitive mind said:
A woman recovered from a coma and could speak only German,and had no exposure to German in her life.
He natural language was English.
Here is an ABC News report about a Croatian "teen" in Split. She was studyng German at the time (There goes some of the wow factor!!). Would it be more amazing if she simply lost all ability to speak after an injury or illness?? That happens all the time......
The purpose of requiring actual documentation is to avoid falling into a game of "telephone" about matters that are easy and fun to exaggerate. I, too, have heard such remarkable tales, but cannot corroborate them and will therefore steadfastly not repeat them.
 
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  • #15
The Buddhism religion claims that we are born knowing everything,but as we learn to speak,we forget almost everything except that which is pertinent to our culture and existence.,and when we learn anything,we are simply remembering what was forgotten.Imagine if that were true and we could access at will all of that knowledge?
I know this is not physics related,directly ,but indirectly shining a light into the dark corners of our knowledge and brains.
Take it with a grain of salt.:wink:
 
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  • #17
inquisitive mind said:
I know this is not physics related,directly ,but indirectly shining a light into the dark corners of our knowledge and brains.

This method of illumination of dark corners ignites far too many wildfires and funeral pyres. I will use an LED instead.....far less collateral damage than the vigorous omphaloskepsis you recommend.
 
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  • #18
hutchphd said:
This method of illumination of dark corners ignites far too many wildfires and funeral pyres. I will use an LED instead.....far less collateral damage than the vigorous omphaloskepsis you recommend.
It is easier to see once you remove the lint.(I did not specify the type of light to use.)
 
  • #19
This indeed belongs in some other forum. You did not even specify it as light. Light is interesting physics. This is neither.
 
  • #20
hutchphd said:
I remember (>50 yrs ago) something from the (famous at Cornell) James Maas Psych 101 course about the response of very young human children to the "visual cliff" which showed the fear of a cliff edge was evident very early on. (this is my entire expertise on the subject, so I figured I should offer it)
I remember that too.
Might have been from one of my sister's nursing books.
Wikki says though,
However, results do not indicate that avoidance of cliffs and fear of heights is innate

More of a depth perception study than fear of heights.
Phobias would be coming more from learned experiences.
 
  • #21
hutchphd said:
This method of illumination of dark corners ignites far too many wildfires and funeral pyres. I will use an LED instead.....far less collateral damage than the vigorous omphaloskepsis you recommend.
True,but it does relate to apriori knowledge that was obviously stored somewhere in the brain that was accessed without outside information: An unexplored area of the brain that needs to be illuminated with more research(not necessarily photons).
 
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  • #22
What about male bowerbirds creating highly articulated, bewildering nests?
maybe on the hand the offspring learn from others of their kind to some degree and extemporize based on what they learned, whilst on the other hand maybe that knowledge is entrenched within their minds from birth? this is difficult to answer... I don't think there's any scientific consensus about an answer to this question.
 
  • #23
Some of the inherited knowing is manifest in other than their minds. Did Romulus and Remus walk on two legs or four? ( I know this is a silly comment but it seems apropos......)
 
  • #24
I’m interested in this because consider simulating a neural network with 100,000 neurons, let’s say you want to simulate the behavior of a wandering spider ( and suppose you have the computer power and memory to do so ); how is his a-priori knowledge which sets a basis to his entire behavior gets implemented in such a simulation? it's all about the initial conditions ( "initial info" ) in the neurons (vaguely saying) that define the behavior of the creature
 
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  • #25
Are you speaking about a spider or your simulation of the spider? Failure to maintain this strict barrier is a serious impediment to knowledge.
 
  • #26
I remember an experiment from the 1960's about Planarian worms and memory.A group of worms were taught to avoid a red light,and not feed when it was on or they would receive a mild shock.After training,they were chopped up and fed to untrained worms.Most of the untrained worms avoided eating when the light was on,with no prior training.This illustrated that memory could be chemical in nature.
If this was true in simple organisms why would it not be also true in higher animals?
When an infant is in utero,he or she shares the blood supply with his or her mother,and is exposed to the same chemicals,including perhaps,some memory chemicals during brain formation and development.
What is stored in the so called"unused" portions of our brain,which is larger than the used part.
Nature is not wasteful,and there has to be a purpose for it.
 
  • #27
hutchphd said:
Did Romulus and Remus walk on two legs or four?
Remus definitely walked on two. "Zip-A-Dee-Do-Dah!"
Oh....wrong Remus.
 
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  • #28
inquisitive mind said:
A group of worms were taught to avoid a red ligh
Remarkable, since they have no color receptors.
 
  • #29
hutchphd said:
Are you speaking about a spider or your simulation of the spider? Failure to maintain this strict barrier is a serious impediment to knowledge.
I meant my simulation of a spider, though I want it to be as close as possible to the "real thing" and based on true biological axioms and principals of animal behavior ( I don't want to just simulate a simple AI using A* algorithm as that's a "fix" )
 
  • #30
This thread is turning into the realm of speculation and I'm afraid that ...
inquisitive mind said:
Take it with a grain of salt
... requires more than a grain, especially as stories like ...
This ‘Sudden Genius’ Was Able To Play Piano Masterfully After Suffering A Massive Head Injury
... are barely a scientific basis suited for a serious discussion.

This thread is closed.
 
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