Stress, Brain Size & Intelligence
Scott Holmes (sholmes@NETCOM.COM)
Fri, 10 Feb 1995 05:59:52 -0800
size and intelligence, but I would like to mention an observation that
Gregory Bateson made while working with porpoises. In at least one
experiment a porpoise was subjected to repeated sessions of "operant
conditioning" followed by deliberate breaking of the rules by the trainer.
He notes: "In the time-out between the fourteenth and fifteenth sessions,
the porpoise appeared to be much excited, and when she came on stage for
the fifteenth session she put on an elaborate performance including eight
conspicuous pieces of behavior of which four were entirely new--never
before observed in this species of animal".
He goes on to say:
"The story illustrates, I believe, two aspects of the genesis of a
First, that severe pain and maladjustment can be induced by putting
a mammal in the wrong regarding its rules for making sense of an
important relationship with another mammal.
And second, that if this pathology can be warded off or resisted, the
total experience may promote creativity."
I mention this because I am very much intrigued by William Calvin's
theory of an "evolutionary pump", ie ice age fluctuations. Regardless
of the location on earth of the main human population, fluctuations in
ice extent had an effect on their environments thus changing the rules. I
think it would follow that those individuals most capable of adapting to
the environmental (context) changes would be most successful in those
activities that produce progeny. These activities would include the whole
suite of topics discussed on this list: tool making, social development etc.
Personally, I haven't a clue as to which bootstraped which, brain size or
intelligence. It would seem, though, that Necessity IS the Mother of Invention.
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