Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Human Brains Unlikely To Evolve Into A “supermind” As Price To Pay Would Be Too High

From the 8 December 2011 Medical News Today article

Human minds have hit an evolutionary “sweet spot” and – unlike computers cannot continually get smarter without trade-offs elsewhere, according to research by the University of Warwick.

Researchers asked the question why we are not more intelligent than we are given the adaptive evolutionary process.

Their conclusions show that you can have too much of a good thing when it comes to mental performance.

The evidence suggests that for every gain in cognitive functions, for example better memory, increased attention or improved intelligence, there is a price to pay elsewhere – meaning a highly-evolved “supermind” is the stuff of science fiction….

For instance, among individuals with enhanced cognitive abilities such as savants, people with photographic memories, and even genetically segregated populations of individuals with above average IQ, these individuals often suffer from related disorders, such as autism, debilitating synaesthesia and neural disorders linked with enhanced brain growth.

Similarly, drugs like Ritalan only help people with lower attention spans whereas people who don’t have trouble focusing can actually perform worse when they take attention-enhancing drugs.

Dr Hills said: “These kinds of studies suggest there is an upper limit to how much people can or should improve their mental functions like attention, memory or intelligence….

December 9, 2011 - Posted by | Consumer Health, Medical and Health Research News | , , , , ,

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