Scientists 'locate' intelligence

mejqb at mejqb at
Sat Aug 19 14:42:40 EST 2000

In article <39885cd9_4 at>,
  "Sergio Navega" <snavega at> wrote:
> MS wrote in message ...
> >It sounds like a premature generalization to say that because several
> >activated one area that it validates a g-factor of intelligence.
Given the
> >role of working memory across complex tasks and the importance of
> >dorsolateral PFC in working memory, couldn't a working memory
> >account for those findings?
> >
> >--
> >Marcello
> >
> I agree. Although I'm sympathetic to the concept of general
> I don't think we have a specific area of the brain responsible for
> it. I think it is premature and somewhat "sensationalistic" to claim
> to have found such an area.

The notion of a specific area of activity and the notion of a general
intelligence factor as propounded in The Bell Curve aren't even
vaguely related.  After all, the fact that thinking takes place in a
specific organ, the brain, does not support the claim of a "general
intelligence factor", so no more specific location of activity does
either.  The g-factor has to do with correlation of *abilities*, not

What's fascinating is how few people who are interested in the subject
of intelligence and are aware that there are variations intelligence
ever imagine that they might be lacking in some aspect of
intelligence, and in fact are insulted by the suggestion, despite it
being an empirical matter.

> One of the things we should have in mind
> when thinking about brains is that few things are really
> Evolution is merciless with everything that is too specific, and
> human brains evolved exactly to be adaptive and generic. Plasticity
> is the rule.

Well, you might have been able to say that a decade ago when the brain
was still thought of as an amorphous blob, but since then a great deal
has been learned about the detailed localized structure of the brain
and localized function.  But as usual, the beliefs of individuals lags
behind the state of accumulated human knowledge.

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