Does brain size matter?

Discussion in 'Biology & Genetics' started by francois, Oct 14, 2006.

  1. Ray9 Registered Member

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    Brain size and male/female membership ratios in IQ societies

    I belong to two high IQ societies one of which is Mensa. The gender breakdown at Mensa is about sixty five percent male to 35 percent female. I posted an opinion that the gap is due to larger brain size in males. I was immediately attacked by several suffrage queens who told me I was full of it and then called me names that are best left in the gutter. I do however, believe that brain size plays a decisive role particularly in the higher regions of intelligence testing. This applies only in a broad sense and not in all circumstances so please do throw up a bunch of examples of stupid people with large heads.

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  3. spuriousmonkey Banned Banned

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    Did you have any data to back up your claims? Mensa membership is not really objective data. Men have the tendency to be elitist.
     
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  5. nietzschefan Thread Killer Valued Senior Member

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    I think it is more interesting how different sections of the brain and their size show different strengths in the individual. The Size DEFINITELY matters here, take a look at the study on Einstein's brain (nice of him to donate it to science).

    So yes it could definitely be argued that larger size helps with general intelligence.

    Now does it "matter"? It all depends on the girl my friends...
     
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  7. Syzygys As a mother, I am telling you Valued Senior Member

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    Without reading through the whole thread, 2 points:

    1. The brain:body ratio is more important than the absolute brain size, specially when we compare different species. For example crows are at least as intelligent as elephants, but they have "slightly" smaller brains. But the brain: body ratio could be similar.

    Humans have quite a big brain:body ratio....

    2. In humans it is not the absolute size that matters, but the surface area, which depends on the wrinkledness of the brain. And that one depends on how much stimulation the child gets through its brain development...
     
  8. glenn239 Registered Senior Member

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    Check back in a hundred years when we as a species know what the hell we are talking about. Intelligence caused by “little ripples” developing on the surface of the brain. Could be, but sounds like monkeys discussing the Space Shuttle to me. (Thunder God rises to sky on ass of fire”)

    In evolutionary terms, what matters most is ‘bang per buck’,durability and survivability. Brain mass, pound for pound, costs very heavily in terms of caloric intake (about 600 per day for a full grown male, IIRC). If we assume that a smaller brain with more intricate wiring can deliver the same ‘output’ as a bigger brain, then the only reasons that evolution would not have pushed in the direction of miniaturization would be due to things like drift (i.e., environmental conditions did not force increased specialization) or durability (i.e., although a bigger brain costs more in calories, they retain a decisive advantage because smaller brains are more easily damaged or destroyed).
     
  9. francois Schwat? Registered Senior Member

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    To quote you from the Smart Guy thread, you said that brain size does not matter. Does this:

    mean this thread has changed your mind? Before you implied that brain size has nothing to do with intelligence and now you're saying it does--at least it appears that way to me. Did this thread change your mind?
     
  10. leopold Valued Senior Member

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    brain size is worthless in determining someones intelligence.
    if i gave you 2 brains, one bigger than the other, you CANNOT tell me which brain is the more intelligent
     
  11. francois Schwat? Registered Senior Member

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    So?

    That has nothing to do with whether or not brain size is important.
     
  12. Syzygys As a mother, I am telling you Valued Senior Member

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    Nope. I think I said the same in both threads. But anyway, a psychologist friend of mine told me about the importance of the surface area. Thus it is possible that a smaller brain is more "wrinkled" (has bigger surface) than a bigger, but more "ironed" brain...

    Looks like scientists agree with me:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/4277359.stm

    "When it comes to brain size and intelligence, bigger is not necessarily better, say scientists."

    Also, it is the volume of the grey matter that seems to be more important as IQ is concerned:

    http://today.uci.edu/news/release_detail.asp?key=1187
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2007
  13. francois Schwat? Registered Senior Member

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    Yeah, bigger is not necessarily better. But it usually is. People who are very intelligent usually have larger brains.
     
  14. GiZzY Registered Member

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    I agree. Brain size does not matter. Cro-magnon and such species had larger brains than homo-sapiens but evolved enough to have a smaller brain with a larger capacity.
     
  15. leopold Valued Senior Member

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    we've been through this before francois.
    there were several things that was brought up that you was stumbling all over yourself to answer.
    for instance:
    1. why is intelligence closely coorelated to a persons height?

    2. why do pigmys with brains the size of 2 year olds have normal intelligence?

    3. brain body mass ratio isn't the answer either, the pigmy shrew proves it.

    4 if brain size is so important why is the false blue whale a moron?
     
  16. Facial Valued Senior Member

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    Elephants and whales have huge brains. Why didn't they trump our civilization? An elephant's trunk can probably be as dexterous as a human hand, or probably even more powerful than just that.

    This is why people use cerebral mass to body mass ratio. The sensory surface area leaves more cortical spaces for other higher functions.
     
  17. francois Schwat? Registered Senior Member

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    First off, am I really obligated to answer these pointless questions to make my point? No. I'm not. Exceptions to the rule do not disprove a general rule. In this thread I am mainly concerned that brain size is an important factor in human intelligence. All published scientific research supports this assertion. My unwillingness to answer your pointless questions about pigmys and false blue whales does absolutely zero harm to my argument.

    What you should really be doing is try disprove and discredit the scientists who have published the research which shows that brain size and IQ are powerfully correlated. That's what you should be doing. You know? You should criticize their methods. You should criticize their characters. You should call them racists. You should be criticizing the scientists who are saying that brain size matters. However, you should keep in mind that there are an extremely small number of scientists who will flat-out say that size does not matter. They do not want to be ridiculed.

    So yeah, you should criticize the scientists--not bother asking me pointless and irrelevant questions.
     
  18. John Connellan Valued Senior Member

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    It's not the size of your brain, it's how u use it

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  19. francois Schwat? Registered Senior Member

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    Well, it's both, really. To say it's "not the size of your brain" is just patently false. It's not only false scientifically, but it's a bad mentality to use altogether. Imagine having a little brother who has Down Syndrome. He's about 22 years old and he's trying to get his GED. Try after try he fails. You tell him every time that the reason he's failing is because he's not studying enough. You're just not disciplined enough! You're not trying hard enough! You have to want it! Don't be such a pussy!

    So many people don't realize that all of our traits, behaviors and tendencies have physical causes. They think will has everything to do with it. But it really doesn't. The will is caused by physical processes, just like all other properties. Your willingness be disciplined and to use your brain has as much of a physical cause as does intelligence.
     
  20. Syzygys As a mother, I am telling you Valued Senior Member

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    I hope all posters realize that even science has no definite answer to the question, so keep that in mind...
     
  21. John Connellan Valued Senior Member

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    I agree that to a certain extent in animals, brain size matters. It is clear that shrews cannot develop the brain intelligence we have with a brain weighing less than a gram. However, between memeber of the same species such as humans (where size does not vary that much), the correlation is not necessarily there. Brain size is probably just a genetic condition and so is intelligence. However they are not necessarily linked. Intelligence may result from the complexity of the neuronal network inside the grey tissue. Somebody may have a larger brain but with less going on inside it.
     
  22. francois Schwat? Registered Senior Member

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    Yes, but based on what we have learned from science, it is by far much more logical to believe that brain size is correlated with intelligence than not.
     
  23. francois Schwat? Registered Senior Member

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    But through this thread we have learned that the relationship between measurable intelligence (IQ) and brain size is extremely well-documented and well-known in the science community. Smarter people do, by and large have bigger brains than dumb people. That is a fact. Is it the extra tissue that causes the extra intelligence? I don't know! I'm just saying smarter people do in fact have larger brains. Many people choose not to accept it. But that doesn't keep it from being true.

    This thread is pretty good resource for that. Start reading from the beginning. There are links to many articles posting the discoveries from many studies which find that brain size matters. Nobody, not even I, have been able to find a study which indicates that brain size doesn't matter.
     

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