Big Brain: The Origins and Future of Human Intelligence
Our big brains, our language ability, and our intelligence make us uniquely human.
But barely 10,000 years ago (a mere blip in evolutionary time) human-like creatures called "Boskops" flourished in South Africa. They possessed extraordinary features: forebrains roughly 50% larger than ours, and estimated IQs to match--far surpassing our own. Many of these huge fossil skulls have been discovered over the last century, but most of us have never heard of this scientific marvel.
Prominent neuroscientists Gary Lynch and Richard Granger compare the contents of the Boskop brain and our own brains today, and arrive at startling conclusions about our intelligence and creativity. Connecting cutting-edge theories of genetics, evolution, language, memory, learning, and intelligence, Lynch and Granger show the implications of large brains for a broad array of fields, from the current state of the art in Alzheimer's and other brain disorders, to new advances in brain-based robots that see and converse with us, and the means by which neural prosthetics-- replacement parts for the brain--are being designed and tested. The authors demystify the complexities of our brains in this fascinating and accessible book, and give us tantalizing insights into our humanity--its past, and its future.
What people are saying - Write a review
LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - juglicerr - LibraryThing
The reader should know that Granger and Lynch are going against a lot of paleoanthropological thinking is describing the Boskopoids as a separate hominid group. They allude to this, saying that the ... Read full review
Review: Big Brain: The Origins and Future of Human IntelligenceUser Review - Roy - Goodreads
This book was just fantastic. It was exactly the right amount of detail and complexity to be a step forward from the last few things I'd read without being confusing. My only lament was that it wasn't just one chapter longer...the last paragraph was a killer cliff-hanger ending. Read full review
Big Brains Bigger Brains
Are Bigger Brains Better?
Brain and Language
Were Boskops Smarter?
Why Havent We All Heard of Boskops?
Outline of the Book
The Mind in the Machine
From Brain Differences to Individual Differences
Brain Tracts and Differential Abilities
Nature and Nurture
Whats in a Species?
Fallacies of the Notion of Race
Race Versus Gene Pools
Learning Network Codes
Brain Circuits vs Computer Circuits
The Brain of John Von Neumann
Genes Build Brains
How Much Variation Can Occur?
Variation Is Random but It Is Constrained
The Brains of Mammals
Neurons and Networks
From Olfaction to Cognition
From Cortex to Behavior
The Thinking Brain
Extending Thinking over Time
The Cortex Takes Charge
The Tools of Thought
What One Brain Area Tells Another Brain Area
Whats in an Image?
From Generalists to Specialists
Building Highlevel Cognition
Libraries and Labyrinths
Grammars of the Brain
The Origins of Big Brains
Brain Size in the Primates
Brain Size in the Family of Man
The Man of the Future
How Giant Brains Were Forgotten
Inside the Giant Brain
Giant Brains and Intelligence
All but Human
From Quantity to Quality
From Brain Advances to Cognitive Advances
From Cognition to Language
From Speaking to Writing
More than Human
New Paths New Humans
The Final Path to Humans