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How intelligence happens

In a new popular science book, How intelligence happens, Cambridge Neuroscientist Professor John Duncan of the MRC Cognition Brain Sciences Unit discusses the creation of intelligence in the human brain.

John, pictured right, comments: "Human intelligence has become one of the greatest forces on earth, and how it can emerge from a biological brain is one of the great scientific mysteries. In 1951 Karl Lashley, one of the fathers of modern neuroscience, looked forward to 'a physiology of logic', and in How intelligence happens, he tells the story of how this dream is beginning to be realised. The clues come from many places – the experimental psychology of intelligence testing, the study of how minds change after brain damage, the effort to build thinking computers, and modern experiments in brain imaging and neurophysiology. Putting these clues together, we see shows how brains break complex problems into solvable parts, assembling these fragments into the elaborate mental programs that allow us to navigate to work, conduct an argument or solve a geometrical problem."

How intelligence happens is published in November by Yale University Press.

John is assistant director of the MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit in Cambridge, having worked here since 1978. He is also honorary professor of cognitive neuroscience at the Universities of Cambridge and Bangor, visiting professor at the University of Oxford, and fellow of the Royal Society and the British Academy. For the past thirty years, his research has focused on linking human mind to brain. He is best known for his work on attention, intelligence and the frontal lobe.

Article by the MRC CBU.

Posted on 11/11/2010

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