And is there a fundamental nature to human intellect or intelligence? A fascinating new theory by evolutionary psychologists says that it is possible for brains to process information with their minds. But this may not be to the benefit you might think, and it may take a lot of effort and thought.
Dr. Paul Bloom, the Harvard evolutionary psychologist, says that the way modern technology allows us to move and interact with objects requires a brain that is very different to what our ancestors had. And he says even thinking about it is counterintuitive, because so much of the modern world is so simple, and because people are so focused on entertainment, that we think the complexity of modernity means we can’t be intelligent as well.
DR. PAUL BLOOM: Most of us think that the more you’ve got, the better you’re likely to win a game of chess or an intense card game like Poker. People who think like that and have money at their disposal have no trouble competing in the modern world. But, you know, it turns out we’re the first organisms on this planet to invent language, the most complex thing ever invented. We had that in the cave, where we weren’t doing much more than looking for things to eat, so we had to be the first on this planet to invent language.
So we have evolved to look at objects and to move them with our thoughts and our senses. We have the most complex brains in the history of the universe and yet we can’t do it very well.
So, for example, I know that my chair is my armchair and that my chair is what I call both my desk and your chair, and if you’re sitting one or the other, you can be right. So to move one object to the other you have to make a decision about which chair to call, and I’m right about my chair because I know it’s my armchair and that’s why I call it my armchair.
But if you’re sitting in that chair, and I was sitting there, and I told you the chair was my armchair, and you sat down at your desk, it would make no sense for me to move you to my armchair.
It turns out that thinking about objects with our minds is not the best thing to do. Because the more we think about things the harder it is for us to come up with new ideas.
DR. ROBERT SULLIVAN in the History of Psychology: There is a line in