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A great book about intelligence.

John Duncans book ”How intelligence Happens” is a brilliant read.

Certainly, intelligence is a very interesting subject, and a very important subject. Nevertheless, we still have no clear definition of what intelligence exactly is!

However, according to british psychologist Charles Spearman, people who do well on one mental task tend to do well on others. So, Spearman concluded that intelligence is a general cognitive ability that can be measured.
John Duncans book takes off from there, and then goes into these unknown brain lands.

Its a very exciting journey. Where, some parts of the landscape are well described, whereas other parts are new uncharted worlds. Wherever we go, John Duncan is obviously a very knowledgeable and competent guide.
And, in his view, intelligence (organising our behaviour in a logical, goal-directed way), is supported by prefrontal (and parietal) regions of the brain. It follows that the book is very much about giving evidence to support a ”frontal lobe theory of intelligence”.

Sure, it would have been nice with some comments to e.g. Louis L. Thurstones or Howard Gardners theory about intelligence. But, obviously, this is not possible in such a relatively small book.
Instead, the book focus on this ”frontal lobe view” of intelligence, based on Spearmans work.
And after reading John Duncans book you are certainly convinced that this is a very important aspect of intelligence!

Nevertheless, obviously, as in all good books, in the end there are just as many questions as there are answers.
In the end we are still faced with hard problems, such as the question of qualia. How can we really know about what another person experiences when seeing the color red?

Still, the book is a wonderful read, with many new pieces of information and thoughprovoking ideas.
Brilliant stuff.

-Simon

Amazon review

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Categories: intelligence
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