Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Birth order has no meaningful effect on personality or IQ, massive study reports [news item]

Birth order has no meaningful effect on personality or IQ, massive study reports

From the 23 July 2015 Business Insider news item

For those who believe that birth order influences traits like personality and intelligence, a study of 377,000 high school students offers some good news: Yes, the study found, first-borns do have higher IQs and consistently different personality traits than those born later in the family chronology. However, researchers say, the differences between first-borns and “later-borns” are so small that they have no practical relevance to people’s lives.

July 25, 2015 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News | , , , | Leave a comment

[Magazine article] Yes, You Are Googling Yourself Stupid

From the April 2015 Good – a magazine for the global citizen

When it comes to actual intelligence, the more time we spend searching online, the more we’re prone to overestimating how smart we actually are.

That, at least, is the conclusion reached by Yale researchers in “Searching for Explanations: How the Internet Inflates Estimates of Internal Knowledge,” a paper published last week in American Psychological Association’s Journal of Experimental Psychology. Lead by doctoral candidate Matthew Fisher, the research team administered a series of experiments to over a thousand students in order to test the degree to which internet connectivity affects a person’s sense of their own intelligence. According to The Telegraph:

In one test, the internet group were given a website link which gave the answer to the question ‘how does a zip work’ while a control group were given a print-out of the same information.

When they two groups were quizzed later on an unrelated question – ‘why are cloudy nights warmer?’ the group who had searched online believed they were more knowledgeable even though they were not allowed to look up the correct answer.

 

April 8, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Emotional Intelligence Mapped In The Brain

For some reason, these emotional intelligence studies reminded me of Dr. Beaumont, who in 1822 studied digestion through experiments on a man who had stomach injuries.  A Wikipedia article gives a good summary.

From the 24 January 2013 article at MedicalNewsToday

A new study of 152 Vietnam veterans with combat-related brain injuries offers the first detailed map of the brain regions that contribute to emotional intelligence – the ability to process emotional information and navigate the social world.

The study found significant overlap between general intelligence and emotional intelligence, both in terms of behavior and in the brain. Higher scores on general intelligence tests corresponded significantly with higher performance on measures of emotional intelligence, and many of the same brain regions were found to be important to both.

The study appears in the journal Social Cognitive & Affective Neuroscience.

“This was a remarkable group of patients to study, mainly because it allowed us to determine the degree to which damage to specific brain areas was related to impairment in specific aspects of general and emotional intelligence,” said study leader Aron K. Barbey, a professor of neuroscience, of psychology and of speech and hearing science at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at the University of Illinois.

Read the entire article here

January 24, 2013 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News, Psychiatry | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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 | , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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