Art + Science Wednesday: Brain Size and Intelligence

 

Photo: GV ("Pippi")
Photo: GV (“Pippi”)

If you care at all about creativity and/or dogs and/or the most exciting frontier for research these days, have a look at the interview with Princeton neuroscience professor Samuel Wang in the Science Times  last week: ( http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/09/science/09conv.html?scp=2&sq=claudia%20dreifus&st=cse).

Learn why he chose neuroscience over physics as his career (isn’t it obvious); learn that Sudoku won’t do us older folks any mental good (though more exercise might), and that playing Motzart for babies is a waste of time (for both parent and baby).

But the really intresting part is about dogs. Dr. Wang studies dog MRIs (brain scans) looking for correlations between brain size/characteristics and dog breed characteristics. There’s quite a range, because dogs can vary by a factor of x60 in  body mass and x3 in brain size.

So, poodles are smarter than most dogs, and pugs (Wang has one) are sweet but not so bright.  I will assume for now that my French Bulldog’s brain is closer in size to that of the pug than the poodle, but I (we both) await Dr. Wang’s findings. 

Of course, compared with dogs, humans are all alike, Einstein’s brain included.

Where’s this all going?  I don’t know, but stay tuned, it’s got to come around to art sooner or later.

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