Neocortex, first draft

Today was not a materially productive day, so I’m going to start drinking until words come out. That’s kind of like being productive.

Fucking neocortices, how do they work? And I don’t wanna talk to a scientist cuz academia mostly rewards conscientiousness over intelligence and intelligence over high associative horizon, although in highly technical fields intelligence is occasionally preferred.

Insane Clown Posse, paraphrased

In a previous post I alluded to the neocortex as, essentially, a social conformity machine. A high-functioning frontal lobe specializes in observing social customs, formalizing them into rules, and following these rules under circumstances classified by “appropriateness”. Observation goes in, internal processor formalizes a rule, behavior comes out. We should consider these rules and behaviors to be basic “datatypes” of the frontal lobe. This can get kinda confusing when we account for lying, humor, diversity, scienmajistics and other highly social behaviors (if subverting a rule is sometimes funny, and funny is good, then sometimes subverting a rule is itself a rule), but this is a good starting point. If we live in a society that rewards people for tacitly perceiving, understanding, and following customs, then frontal lobes and highbrow brachycephalism will flourish (usually at the expense of other functions).

It just so happens that being better at recognizing, learning, formalizing and applying rules in complicated, abstract and novel ways is generally useful, especially in g-loaded fields like math and humor. A higher IQ will occur if a person has a bigger, more complex mental map of rules, and hence a larger pool of concepts to combine in novel ways. General health, energy abundance and efficient connectivity in the brain also yield higher IQs for otherwise identical mimetic networks due to faster perception, storage, recall, recombination, etc. These latter points constitute g, in my current conception.

This is a pretty good simplification and elucidates Elijah’s take on the Flynn Effect, I think. Plus, this description accounts for its growth in social societies (R-selected) despite the dysgenic effects of specialization, resource abundance, etc. Furthermore, it explains why intelligent people tend to be really normal and conformist unless they have a correspondingly large anchor to reality (AH), a la Cooijmans (final subheading).

Well, I’m tired now. Maybe this description was good enough, but it’s hard for me to tell. You can help me out by asking questions. Um, please.

Edit: Because occipital datatypes (visual perception, coordinated physical movements, probably others) aren’t useful in most social settings, we see a lot of people with high IQs but not visuospatial abilities. On the other hand, occipital functions are highly useful to hunter-gatherers (so you often see low IQ, highish visuospatial and visual recall: draw a man tests, matching cards by memory, that sort of thing). I think the loose correlation between visuospatial stuff and cranial volume is merely an artifact of dolicocephalism.


About Aeoli Pera

Maybe do this later?
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