Cortex Forum on the Concept of General Intelligence in Neuropsychology (Editorial)
Anderson, M. (2005) Cortex Forum on the Concept of General Intelligence in Neuropsychology (Editorial). Cortex, 41 (2). pp. 99-100.
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I am not a neuropsychologist but I imagine that a common question asked at the bar after the day’s conference session might be “well, what bit of the mind/brain do you study then?”. Philosophical discussions regarding dualism and the mind-brain not withstanding, I imagine that responses will fall into two main categories: brain-stuff (pre-frontal cortex; amygdala; hippocampus; inhibitory pathways etc) or mind-stuff (executive functions; memory; language; neglect etc). What I doubt anyone would say is “intelligence” – in either its brain or its mind variety. Why not? After all, is not intelligence the property of the human brain? There are three potential answers (well represented in the offerings in this forum). Nobody studies “intelligence” because: (1) intelligence is simply the sum of all the bits studied individually by participants in the neuropsychology conference and does not itself constitute an individual topic; (2) to the extent that intelligence might be considered an individuated topic, it is the province of individual differences researchers and neuropsychology is not interested in individual differences; (3) neuropsychologists study bits of the mind and a “bits” (modular) approach is antithetical to the notion that there is such an entity as general intelligence. My guess is that none of these three responses will be offered at cutting-edge conferences in ten years time, because by then intelligence will indeed be the “hot” topic of neuropsychology. To understand why this will happen we need a smidgeon of history.
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