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[evol-psych] Re: Human brains expanded to increase expertise capacity, not IQ

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  • Irwin Silverman
    ... (snip) ... etc. We have some data that we presented at the last HBES and are presently preparing for publication consistent with John s view of the
    Message 1 of 47 , Oct 2, 1999
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      On Fri, 1 Oct 1999, Dr. John R. Skoyles wrote:

      > The present evol-psych debate upon the evolution of human intelligence
      > ignores what kind of intelligence was selected for in our evolution.
      (snip)
      > bigger brains with more neural columns and so capacity to process
      > informational chunks will have greater capacities to develop expertise.
      > Many activities critical to the survival of early hominids would strongly
      > selection for greater expertise: such as skills in tracking prey ...
      etc.

      We have some data that we presented at the last HBES and are
      presently preparing for publication consistent with John's view of the
      distinction between selection based areas of expertise and general
      intelligence. We found, as predicted, that wayfinding in the woods in a
      hunting scenario bore a direct relationship to three dimensional mental
      rotations ability, which we regard as a relatively hard-wired, discrete
      capacity, but no relationship to I.Q., as measured by Raven's Progressive
      Matrices, or to non-rotational spatial tests. Our wayfinding measure did
      also distinguish between the sexes, but mental rotations ability was the
      only significant predictor of wayfinding ability in a multiple regression.


      Irwin Silverman
      Psychology Department
      York University
      4700 Keele Street
      Toronto, Ontario M3J 1P3
      Canada
      Ph. 416-736-2100 x66213
      fax 416-736-5814
    • Derek Bickerton
      On October 6th Robert Levy wrote ... This idea goes back a long way. Otto Jespersen proposed it about the beginning of the century in his book on language
      Message 47 of 47 , Oct 6, 1999
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        On October 6th Robert Levy wrote

        >I'm looking for information on theories of the evolution of language which
        >fall roughly into the domain of "language evolved from song".

        This idea goes back a long way. Otto Jespersen proposed it about the
        beginning of the century in his book on language (sorry I'm away from any
        good source of reference) and it sticks in my mind that he had a quote from
        Darwin that seemed to hint at it, though I may be wrong about that.


        >I am familiar with the problems and questions in the "evolution of
        >language" debate, and I don't see any glaring flaws in this theory. I
        >suppose the main problem is historical and empirical. Are there any good
        >reasons why this theory or something like it should not be a candidate for
        >being the one which reveals the mysteries of the origins of language?

        Well, it really doesn't explain very much. Nobody, to the best of my
        knowledge, has ever tried to explain how you would get from song to discrete
        units (words or signs) that carry discrete chunks of inmformation, let alone
        how those discrete units would then be assembled to form syntactic
        structures. Without such a scenario, there's really nothing to discuss.

        >From what I have read, it seems that theories of language evolution >often
        >go unnoticed because there are so many equally valid theories, >none that
        >surface as being extraordinarily explanatory.

        Things aren't quite that bad! I suggest you read Calvin and Bickerton,
        "Lingua ex Machina" (MIT, 1999 we still hope, but you can find it on line
        at. www.WilliamCalvin.com/LEM.) We try to get over some of the problems
        faced by previous accounts, how successfully if up to others to judge.

        Regards,

        Derek Bickerton




        Derek Bickerton
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