Cephalization and Intelligence

S. Smith / R. Bourgeois suzannes at vir.com
Sat Oct 12 12:36:10 EST 1996


Kenneth,

Thanks for your feedback.  The only counter argument I can propose is that a 
distributed processing system would be favored by organisms that are often 
damaged.  (Oops, lost another piece there..)  

Your argument about reducing fancy through-the-joint type connections is also a 
convincing argument for packing the sensory organs near the main processing 
center.

I was trying to distinguish "what has to be" from "gee, look at what happened" 
in terms of body plan design.  Thanks for your help.

Ray

http://www.vir.com/~suzannes/




kenneth paul collins wrote:
> 
> S. Smith / R. Bourgeois wrote:
> >
> > Gord,
> >
> > I appreciate the difficulty in defining "intelligence".  However, I am not
> > looking to split hairs over semantics either.  I'll restate my question
> > then.... Is encephalization an a_priori requirement for a species capable
> > of technological advances?  I suppose this is a question involving
> > theoretical limitations.  Do advanced thought process absolutely require
> > the transmission speeds of neurons stuck close together within a few
> > centimeters in a brain case?  Any speculation on the subject would help me.
> > Thanks again.
> >
> > Ray
> 
> [snip]
> 
> ...no... but, given a particular nerual architecture, a "spaced-out" nervous
> system will tend to consistently lose competitions with a scaled down version
> of the same neural architecture, because the more-compact version will
> converge faster, and be more energy-efficient... cephalization has even more
> advantages because, besides shrinking interconnection lengths, it allows the
> head-localized sensory apparatus to orient relatively independently with
> respect to the body, and minimizes "fancy" through-the-joints conveying of
> information (hard to protect, and prone to injury... like one's "funny
> bone")... ken
> _____________________________________________________
> People hate because they fear, and they fear because
> they do not understand, and they do not understand
> because hating is less work than understanding.




kenneth paul collins wrote:
> 
> S. Smith / R. Bourgeois wrote:
> >
> > Gord,
> >
> > I appreciate the difficulty in defining "intelligence".  However, I am not
> > looking to split hairs over semantics either.  I'll restate my question
> > then.... Is encephalization an a_priori requirement for a species capable
> > of technological advances?  I suppose this is a question involving
> > theoretical limitations.  Do advanced thought process absolutely require
> > the transmission speeds of neurons stuck close together within a few
> > centimeters in a brain case?  Any speculation on the subject would help me.
> > Thanks again.
> >
> > Ray
> 
> [snip]
> 
> ...no... but, given a particular nerual architecture, a "spaced-out" nervous
> system will tend to consistently lose competitions with a scaled down version
> of the same neural architecture, because the more-compact version will
> converge faster, and be more energy-efficient... cephalization has even more
> advantages because, besides shrinking interconnection lengths, it allows the
> head-localized sensory apparatus to orient relatively independently with
> respect to the body, and minimizes "fancy" through-the-joints conveying of
> information (hard to protect, and prone to injury... like one's "funny
> bone")... ken
> _____________________________________________________
> People hate because they fear, and they fear because
> they do not understand, and they do not understand
> because hating is less work than understanding.



More information about the Neur-sci mailing list