Think Your Dog is Smart? Probably Not as Smart as the Wolf

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Is a wolf smarter than your beloved pet dog?
(Photo credit: Elayne/Fotolia)

You probably think your dog is pretty smart. And you may be right. Dogs sometimes seem to be able to read our minds, knowing exactly what we’re thinking and what we’re going to do before it’s even clear to us. However, recent research indicates that their wild ancestor, the wolf, may have an edge in some intelligence competitions. [Read more…]

Intelligence Is in the Network

When it comes to intelligence, it is all about the connections. Richard Haier of the University of California, Irvine, and Rex Jung of the University of New Mexico compiled evidence that human intelligence is related to how well information travels among intelligence hubs along certain pathways of the brain.

In 2004, Haier and Jung found that general intelligence areas are throughout the brain. Now, they have a more sophisticated view of intelligence works. Haier and Jung reviewed 37 brain imaging studies and identified brain areas, or stations, most related to intelligence. From their analysis, Haier and Jung developed their Parieto-Frontal Integration Theory (P-FIT) model. The P-FIT model identifies areas of the frontal and parietal lobes of the brain as stations of the brain network related to intelligence. Based on the evidence, Haier and Jung think that intelligence levels might be based on how efficient the parietal-frontal networks process information.

The P-FIT model is not dependent on one type of intelligence testing. Regardless of how an individuals intelligence is measured, the P-FIT model identifies similar stations of intelligence. “In every single study that we reviewed, there was a different measure of intelligence,” Haier said. “There’s controversy about what is the best measure of intelligence. There’s controversy over how broad or narrow the definition of intelligence should be. Our work really goes beyond those questions and basically says that irrespective of the definition of intelligence you use in neuroimaging studies, you find a similar result.”

Earl Hunt, a psychologist from the University of Washington says they (Haier and Jung) can take the far more sophisticated view that individual differences in intelligence depend, in part, upon individual differences in specific areas of the brain and in the connections between them.

Haier and Jung hope that their model will provide a basis on which new hypotheses on intelligence can be tested.

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