View Poll Results: Do large civilizations cause brain size and intelligence to downsize on average?

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  • This theory makes perfect sense

    2 3.77%
  • This is a possibility

    8 15.09%
  • I disagree with the theory

    10 18.87%
  • People are actually getting smarter

    16 30.19%
  • Brain size has nothing to do with intelligence

    17 32.08%
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Thread: Has the average person become stupider in last 5000 years?

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    Has the average person become stupider in last 5000 years?

    Interesting article here on recent human evolution. Apparently brain size in humans has shrunk in the last 5000 years. A possible reason is given in the article I will link to:
    "When it comes to recent evolutionary changes, we currently maybe have the least specific details with regard the brain, but we do know from archaeological data that pretty much everywhere we can measure Europe, China, South Africa, Australia that brains have shrunk about 150 cubic centimeters, off a mean of about 1,350. That's roughly 10 percent," Hawks said.

    "As to why is it shrinking, perhaps in big societies, as opposed to hunter-gatherer lifestyles, we can rely on other people for more things, can specialize our behavior to a greater extent, and maybe not need our brains as much," he added.
    Humans Still Evolving as Our Brains Shrink - Evolution | Human | Theory | Man | Paleontology - FOXNews.com

    In other words, the need to be intelligent isn't as much of a biological imperative as society becomes more complex. Stupid people are able to survive and reproduce. The phenomenon that we see today, with the less intelligent underclass reproducing itself at a higher rate, has been present for some time.

    Please vote on your opinion of this theory.

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    Re: Has the average person become stupider in last 5000 years?

    Brain size does not indicate intelligence level. That's a pretty basic tennet of neuropsychology. Brain complexity and organization determines intelligence, and as far as I know that hasn't changed significantly since the earliest human ancestors.

    I'm also not clear on the unintelligent underclass argument. Unless someone has a neurological disability that prevents their knowledge from growing, the limitation to intelligence tends to be access to learning experience. The "underclass" tends to have less access to education and diverse worldly experience than people with money, and that is because their life experience is linked almost exclusively to survival.

    So what does that tell us? That yes, poor people have existed since the dawn of time and have been marginalized as being stupid.

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    Re: Has the average person become stupider in last 5000 years?

    It seems to me that the human being of the hunting gathering society would need to have more generalized intelligence and definitely more physical stamina than a human being in an agricultural society.

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    Re: Has the average person become stupider in last 5000 years?

    Just 100 years ago, the majority of Americans didn't even know how to read.

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    Re: Has the average person become stupider in last 5000 years?

    Quote Originally Posted by Toothpicvic View Post
    Just 100 years ago, the majority of Americans didn't even know how to read.
    I'm referring to innate intelligence, not whether someone lives in a society that is literate. Most human beings are capable of learning to read if they live in a society that provides them the opportunity.

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    Re: Has the average person become stupider in last 5000 years?

    OP:

    Well - I agree with Orius - intelligence has nothing to do with *brain* size.
    The brain does far more than just calculate the answer to problems and "brainy" things.

    It's evident through monitored microevolution that often what is reduced, or is removed from genetics completely is done so because it's no longer needed - or used less and less.
    It's just gradually phased out.

    So if our brain-cells are being reduced in size, or certain areas are reduced, it is because they're used less and less - maybe our neuroprocesses are becoming more sufficient with less needed space and energy?
    Maybe we're becoming breathitarians.

    Quote Originally Posted by Toothpicvic View Post
    Just 100 years ago, the majority of Americans didn't even know how to read.
    That's an issue of being taught - not necessary intelligence.
    There's book smarts - and street smarts. . . and some have more of one than the other, some have both.

    In some studies it's been found that the brain cells of homosexual men are larger than the braincells of heterosexual men - does that mean that homosexual men are smarter than their heterosexual counterparts?
    No, it does not. It means that there's a cause for the difference, but there's no apparent "IQ" effect.
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    Re: Has the average person become stupider in last 5000 years?

    Homosexual men are a successful and creative demographic group actually. I've read that they are high wage earners as a whole.

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    Re: Has the average person become stupider in last 5000 years?

    Quote Originally Posted by MyOwnDrum View Post
    Homosexual men are a successful and creative demographic group actually. I've read that they are high wage earners as a whole.
    Yes, but is that intelligence?

    I think creativity and intelligence are unrelated - though it is an interesting study. (I tried to find the article that I read about this in but can't quite land my hands on the exact one - it wasn't biased, it was in a science-journal of sorts....anyway)
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    Re: Has the average person become stupider in last 5000 years?

    The male homosexual brain differs in several ways, the main one being that the corpus collosum (the conduit which connects the two halves of the brain) is less massive. Homosexual men, on average, tend to be better at languages and verbal articulation, as well as spatial thinkers. There hasn't been enough study into potential evolutionary reasons for homosexuality, but I think gay men are meant to serve a special role in society that is hard to observe because of our modern social order. Maybe in tribal society it would be more clear.

    Also, to the general aspect of the OP, food sources for humanity in the world have increased in the whole since the advent of agriculture, and, in the past 50 years, the Green Revolution. People are getting taller and our brains are receiving more nourishment. It'll be interesting to see how this affects our brain output. Not to mention the internet and access to a wide array of information and stimulus which we are processing in ever larger quantities!

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    Re: Has the average person become stupider in last 5000 years?

    This is my favorite part

    "7,500 years ago in Europe enabled people there to take advantage of non-human milk, a highly nutritious food source one can sustainably procure instead of slaughtering animals."

    mmmmmm I love drinking non-human milk from my slaughtered animals.
    "I do not underestimate the ability of fanatical groups of terrorists to kill and destroy, but they do not threaten the life of the nation. Whether we would survive Hitler hung in the balance, but there is no doubt that we shall survive al-Qa'ida." -- Lord Hoffmann

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