Where the standard approach in comparative neuroscience fails and where it works: General intelligence and brain asymmetries

Comparative Cognition and Behavior Reviews 13:95-98 (2018)
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Although brain size and the concept of intelligence have been extensively used in comparative neuroscience to study cognition and its evolution, such coarse-grained traits may not be informative enough about important aspects of neurocognitive systems. By taking into account the different evolutionary trajectories and the selection pressures on neurophysiology across species, Logan and colleagues suggest that the cognitive abilities of an organism should be investigated by considering the fine-grained and species-specific phenotypic traits that characterize it. In such a way, we would avoid adopting human-oriented, coarse-grained traits, typical of the standard approach in cognitive neuroscience. We argue that this standard approach can fail in some cases, but can, however, work in others, by discussing two major topics in contemporary neuroscience as examples: general intelligence and brain asymmetries.

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Davide Serpico
University of Trento


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