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Researchers: We think we know why humans are smarter than animals

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According to a new study, human memories are not stored in patterns, like animal memories, but jumbled all together:

Quiroga’s study argues that the finding “has profound implications that could explain cognitive abilities uniquely developed in humans, such as our power of generalization and of creative thought.”

The idea seems to be that—uniquely—jumbling everything in the human brain together produces generalization and creative thinking.

But wait… We can test that:

Suppose we took all the files out of a filing cabinet and jumbled them. That would lead to chaos, not to higher orders of thought. So Dr. Quiroga’s suggestion can’t be the answer, not all by itself.

On the other hand, what if we took all the files out, scanned them, and put them in an online database that we access via a search engine? Then we don’t, strictly, need a pattern of files to locate the one we are looking for. We only need to enter keywords in the search box.

That system would work quite well and in several ways better. But it is a completely different system.

News, “Have researchers discovered why humans are smarter than animals?” at Mind Matters News

Yet, despite doing completely different things, the human brain uses the same equipment as the chimpanzee brain. Not a good time to be a shallow naturalist. Maybe a deep naturalist; not a shallow one.

You may also enjoy: What neuroscientists now know about how memories are born and die. Where, exactly are our memories? Are modern media destroying them? Could we erase them if we wanted to?

I just find this fascinating that we have similar brain structures yet our brain structures somehow end up being completely different AaronS1978
This 'hologram' idea isn't new. It's been a common notion for quite a while, for both humans and animals. There are many specific hard-wired memory points, especially in the cerebellum's filing cabinet of skills and actions. But the memories for images and smells in the hippocampus are somewhat broadly distributed, called up by resonating with distributed waves. Maybe Quiroga means something even looser by "jumbled", but if so I doubt that he's right. polistra

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