Does brain size matter?

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

  1. leopold Valued Senior Member

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    they are not related to each other but both are related to population density.
    you might be doing something similar with your theory.

    frankly i feel that intelligence comes from heredity and environment.
    a 'big brain' is worthless without the nurture.

    as i say? you are the one talking about 'big brains'.
    what do you think more mass means?


    i think my take on 'big brains' is clear.
     
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  3. francois Schwat? Registered Senior Member

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    Read those articles again, if you did in fact read them. Brain size and IQ are indeed related.


    I agree completely.

    You said:
    I'm saying the study you provided doesn't show that. You're saying that if you have a small brain, you can make it large by meditating. The article in no way says this. It does not say meditation can result in a 'big brain', as you put it. It said meditation can result in growing extra brain mass.


    What exactly is your take on big brains?
    I mean, I know you think meditation can turn a small brain into a large one (which I disagree with). And I know you think that big brains are useless if not nourished and stimulated (which I agree with). But what else is there? You haven't revealed much.
     
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  5. leopold Valued Senior Member

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    i look at it this way francois, a person with a big brain has an equal chance of being above average intelligence. in short a big brain means about as much as a little toe.
     
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  7. francois Schwat? Registered Senior Member

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    i look at it this way leopold99, a person with an iq of 80 has an equal chance of being an astronaut as a person with an iq of 140. in short a high iq means about as much as a little toe.
     
  8. Ophiolite Valued Senior Member

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    I must have an incredibly small brain. I am so stupid I believe that if I increase my brain mass then, in any practical sense of the word, I have a larger brain. So, if you agree the article says meditating can increase brain mass, then you agree that it can increase brian size, which will, in turn, result in larger brains.
    Gosh, I must be a real idiot for thinking that logical sequence actually hangs together. I can't wait for your large brained explanation of the fallacy in my line of reasoning.
     
  9. spuriousmonkey Banned Banned

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    I think his is getting larger by shrinking.
     
  10. francois Schwat? Registered Senior Member

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    This is what the article leopold99 linked us with said. Direct quote.
    It would have been better stated:
    "People who meditate grow bigger brains than those who don't, ceteris paribus."
    The point is, meditation, like other activities can facilitate growth of brain mass. The article does not say meditation can turn a small brain into a large brain. Sure, it might make it grow a little more tissue in a specific place. But it's not going to turn a brain that weighs 1,250 grams into a brain that weighs 1,400 grams.

    Also, you are imposing a strawman. You are trying to convince me that I'm making an argument that I am not. This does not surprise me in the least.
    Here, you are making the assumption that I said meditation doesn't result in larger brains. I'd like to see you quote me saying this. I said meditation will not result in a large brain--as in, it will not cause a person with a small brain to grow a large brain. This is VERY different to what you are implying what I am saying.

    Let me put what leopold99 is saying into perspective. If a person is trained to take IQ tests, that will help the person do better on them. However, training will not make a person with a low IQ into a person with a high IQ. If you generally score around 80 on an IQ test, training is not going to teach you to score 170. It's just not going to happen. I am saying training might make you score as much as 5 points higher than you would without training, depending on your level of education. So yeah, if you learn to get an 85 on an IQ test, then you've learned to get a "higher" IQ. But you still cannot call it a "high" IQ.

    So you can meditate to get a larger brain. But the article in no way says you can meditate your way to a large brain.

    Do you understand the difference?

    Nothing but strawmen from you idiots.
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2006
  11. francois Schwat? Registered Senior Member

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    Anyway, we're getting off on a tangent.

    Does anyone disagree with the scientists who say smarter people have larger brains?
     
  12. spuriousmonkey Banned Banned

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    which scientist said that?
     
  13. francois Schwat? Registered Senior Member

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    Lots.

    http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNew...23?hub=SciTech

    Study in Toronto, Canada measures the weight and other metrics of 100 brains of people who have done extensive IQ tests.

    "What is very clear is that there is a correlation between brain size and intelligence, particularly verbal ability," said Witelson,

    http://lib.stat.cmu.edu/DASL/Stories...elligence.html
    University students find smarter people have larger brains.

    http://www.futurepundit.com/archives/003188.html


    These results are consistent with lots of other studies which found a positive correlation between brain size and intelligence. Bigger is better.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neurosc...d_intelligence

    Brain size is a rudimentary indicator of the intelligence of a brain, and many other factors affect the intelligence of a brain. Higher ratios of brain to body mass may increase the amount of brain mass available for more complex cognitive tasks.

    http://health.dailynewscentral.com/content/view/1102/0

    For all age and sex groups, it is now very clear that brain volume and intelligence are related, McDaniel said.

    http://www.news-medical.net/?id=11121

    People with bigger brains are smarter than their smaller-brained counterparts, according to a study conducted by a Virginia Commonwealth University researcher published in the journal "Intelligence."


    Thanks for making me reiterate myself.
     
  14. Ophiolite Valued Senior Member

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    It was not a strawman. It was a valid objection based upon your perennial inability to express yourself clearly and precisely.
     
  15. francois Schwat? Registered Senior Member

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    Here you're saying that I said that meditation does not result in larger brains.

    I never argued that, yet you implied I did. You exchanged my argument, whicch is sound, with a weaker argument. Thus, it is a strawman.
     
  16. francois Schwat? Registered Senior Member

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    Anyway, don't respond to that. Let's get off this tangent. Because that's what it is.
     
  17. spuriousmonkey Banned Banned

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    Now, have you read any of these studies?



     
  18. francois Schwat? Registered Senior Member

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    Yeah. I've read all of them.
     
  19. spuriousmonkey Banned Banned

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    Why don't you give a link to the studies then?
     
  20. valich Registered Senior Member

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    "Higher ratios of brain to body mass may increase the amount of brain mass available for more complex cognitive tasks."

    I don't see the logic behind this but it would be interesting to know how the author arrived at this possible assumption?

    A smaller brain mass could possibly harbor a more complex, intricate and efficient network of neural pathways then a larger one. Size or quantity does not necessarily mean better. You can't play tennis with a basketball.
     
  21. francois Schwat? Registered Senior Member

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    They arrived at the conclusion by comparing people's brain sizes with their IQs.

    Precisely true. A larger brain is not necessarily better. Similarly, larger muscles are not always stronger. Similarly, women are not always weaker than men. But there is a definite trend. Smarter people generally have larger brains.

    I didn't actually read the studies. I thought you were referring to the articles that talked about the studies and the researcher's conclusions. I read all of those. I couldn't find the full texts of any actual studies, however. I scoured Ebscohost and found many studies that said the same thing, but they were only abstracts that summarized the findings. To get my hands on the actual full texts, I would have to get my hands on medical and science journals.

    I don't really see why it's important though. The findings for all of the studies are remarkably consistent, and in many of the articles I have provided, the findings are directly quoted by the researcher's conducting the work.
     
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2006
  22. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    It's worth mentioning that there is some disagreement about how to measure brain size. That's because different people have different shaped heads. Heads are not spherical. Some people have long, thin heads. Others have short, fat heads.

    The best measure of brain size seems to be to take the skull, fill it with fine sand, tip it out and measure the volume of sand. The disadvantage of this method is that the subject must be dead at the time of measurement.

    Historically, some scientists have measured the skull from front to back and tried to correlate that with things like IQ and show that bigger brains mean higher IQ. However, since their brain volume measurements are extrapolated and do not work for all head shapes, the conclusions of such studies have often turned out to be biased.

    Again, historically, measurements of brain size have in some cases been shown to bias a particular racial group, so as to try to show, for example, that white people have bigger brains than black people. Re-examination of such data has often led to a re-evaluation and negation of the supposed findings.
     
  23. francois Schwat? Registered Senior Member

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    Perhaps historically, there was disagreement. Does this disagreement still exist? Many modern studies that find the brain size and intelligence correlation measure brain size with MRIs. In that case, skull shape is irrelevant. Also, another modern way to measure brains is by removing it from the casing and submerging it in fluid, to see how much has been displaced. Again, brain shape would be irrelevant. I'm fairly certain the means that studies have implemented for measuring brains goes beyond measuring the skull.

    Really? That's the best measure? Sounds messy! Not to mention, brains aren't the only things that are contained in skulls. Seems weighing and measuring the brain directly would be better.

    Good thing you said "some scientists." Certainly not how brains are quantified these days.

    Hmm, I vaguely remember hearing about that somewhere. But I can't recall any examples of scientists biasing measurements to make some racial groups seem more well endowed than others. Indeed, that would be dishonest and bad science.

    Actually, the consensus is that there are racial differences in brain size. Pretty much every real study I have looked at has found the same pattern. East Asians have the largest brains, whites are a bit smaller and Africans are the smallest. Actually, I haven't heard of any study that deviates from or contradicts this pattern.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Craniometry

    Go to where it says:
    Racial difference in brain size
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2006

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