Daniel Lemire's blog

, 5 min read

Your brain and its software patches

6 thoughts on “Your brain and its software patches”

  1. “A country like Finland went from any other European country, to a worldwide champion of academic success in a few years. (It now looks like they have fallen back again, but that is irrelevant.)”

    It may be partly due to “a small fund” phenomenon.

  2. trylks says:

    Nature vs nurture in IQ. Why not both? You make good points at nurture, there are also strong points on the other side, like Down syndrome, which is undeniable and probably more subtle differences that are hard to detect with all the nurture noise.

    WRT how IQ varies, I’d say that’s because the tests are not accurate. AFAIK common sense cannot be measured, but subjectively *I* don’t perceive any correlation between IQ and common sense (or wisdom for the matter) and AFAIK I’m not alone is this perception.

    The tests I’ve seen are composed of many very simple questions that are to be replied very fast. Differences in the amount of myelin could cause faster thinking. But what about creativity? Establishing new connections (or activating a greater number of them). Critical thinking? Understanding and analyzing the problems of some ideas is very important, specially with some introspection. I don’t think current IQ tests are up to this task, and to me these traits are more crucial for intelligence than answering some simple questions in half the time (although that may indeed be useful for grunt work, e.g. writing code someone else designed).

    This is not my field of expertise, but that’s why I use a pseudonym 😛 My two cents: IQ tests are pretty much useless, except rare occasions (detecting a high IQ in time may “save the life of a person

  3. trylks says:

    Damn tablet…

    May “save” the life of a person, but the wrong measurements are many.

  4. @Leonid

    Finland is relatively small (5 to 6 million people) but I am not sure I would qualify it as a “small fund”. Honestly, if genetics dominates, you would expect it to be very difficult to change the academic results of hundreds of thousands of students at once.

    However, Poland did something similar… a gigantic jump forward in 10 years, and it has something like 40 million people.

    (Update: I confused Norway and Finland initially.)

  5. Xunop says:

    The IQ tests only measure a rather specific part of what I personally would consider intelligence (or even more general mental abilities).

    As for academical/scientific and other significant achievements, I mostly see that the people devoted most of their energy to a specific direction, often for decades. And others often just wave hands that those people are only talented or genius…

  6. Ralph Corderoy says:

    I’d have thought a lot of the fun of teaching is trying to come up with a program that runs on a student’s brain. Watching an older sister help a boy with his times tables, he was struggling with 8×5. Big sis was patient, but didn’t try and show 2×5 could be slid about on the table to be 1×10 to see if the penny dropped.

    Do you think dyslexia is a hardware fault that needs workaround software, or a bug in the initial software implementation?