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Category: Science
Date: 12/31/10 11:01 AM

71 Responses to Fact: The Human Brain Is Getting Smaller

  1. Profile photo of obay
    obay Male 18-29
    67 posts
    December 31, 2010 at 10:56 am
    Link: Fact: The Human Brain Is Getting Smaller - Are humans evolving to be dumber? If so, and it looks like it is, this makes so much sense about the world today.
  2. Profile photo of HamilTaco
    HamilTaco Male 18-29
    178 posts
    December 31, 2010 at 11:06 am
    Makes sense... For some people at least.
  3. Profile photo of Helgarin
    Helgarin Male 18-29
    506 posts
    December 31, 2010 at 11:14 am
    The result of human rights, freedom and lack of breeding licenses.
  4. Profile photo of skypirate
    skypirate Male 18-29
    2402 posts
    December 31, 2010 at 11:21 am
    fact: cpus are getting smaller and faster.
  5. Profile photo of Mad_Gremlyn
    Mad_Gremlyn Male 30-39
    512 posts
    December 31, 2010 at 11:27 am
    Fact: Kathleen McAuliffe writes that the male brain is getting smaller but then reports that female brains are getting smaller by the same amount. Why say "men" and then mention women separately? Because misandry comes up as a misspelled word, no one even knows what it is.
  6. Profile photo of tridirk
    tridirk Male 50-59
    313 posts
    December 31, 2010 at 11:29 am
    That`s progressive!
  7. Profile photo of zlatan
    zlatan Male 18-29
    292 posts
    December 31, 2010 at 11:30 am
    if anyone here has seen idiocracy, it`s a pretty accurate depiction of where we are headed and this backs it up
  8. Profile photo of Volsunga
    Volsunga Male 18-29
    1548 posts
    December 31, 2010 at 11:30 am
    @Skypirate

    Fact: CPUs don`t change due to natural selection.
  9. Profile photo of unmercyfuldu
    unmercyfuldu Male 18-29
    762 posts
    December 31, 2010 at 11:31 am
    It would be interesting what parts actually shrunk. My guess would be energy demanding tasks like environment/predator surveying and other hunter gatherer specialties that we no longer needed 10,000 to 15,000 years ago when we settled down into civilizations and started cultivating food.
  10. Profile photo of I-IS-BORED
    I-IS-BORED Male 18-29
    2419 posts
    December 31, 2010 at 11:33 am
    So apparently poster didn`t read the article.
  11. Profile photo of Agent00Smith
    Agent00Smith Male 18-29
    2581 posts
    December 31, 2010 at 11:33 am
    So thats why all those Neanderthal looking ape men are so dumb.
  12. Profile photo of I-IS-BORED
    I-IS-BORED Male 18-29
    2419 posts
    December 31, 2010 at 11:36 am
    @Mad_Gremlyn
    Fact: You`re stupid. They gave numbers for the average male and said females shrank by the same PROPORTION because male and female brains have DIFFERENT average sizes.
  13. Profile photo of xiquiripat
    xiquiripat Male 18-29
    2422 posts
    December 31, 2010 at 11:36 am
    It`s getting leaner and meaner.
  14. Profile photo of Spider_sol
    Spider_sol Male 18-29
    1452 posts
    December 31, 2010 at 11:39 am
    Firstly, smaller brain does not imply dumber. Now people who don`t do more than glance at the first couple lines are probably the dumb ones, but it says that some scientists think the brain is simply becoming more efficient.

    But I do see a Morlock/Eloi split coming.
  15. Profile photo of Thetas
    Thetas Male 18-29
    1540 posts
    December 31, 2010 at 11:46 am
    I was under the impression that there is no correlation between brain size and intelligence, or maybe I missed one of the many sudden changes of belief in the scientific community.
  16. Profile photo of Rick_S
    Rick_S Male 40-49
    3282 posts
    December 31, 2010 at 12:23 pm
    "I was under the impression that there is no correlation between brain size and intelligence, or maybe I missed one of the many sudden changes of belief in the scientific community."

    I think the relation is brain size relative to body size over a species. In other words, your brain makes up a certain percentage of your weight. A whale will be much larger, but his brain will have a lower percentage of his body weight, and he will therefore be less intelligent. Within a species--human to human or whale to whale--size doesn`t matter, but between species--humans to dogs, for example--relative size does matter. I think.
  17. Profile photo of Intaresting
    Intaresting Male 18-29
    812 posts
    December 31, 2010 at 12:26 pm
    If you just look at the U.S., we`re definitely getting dumber.
  18. Profile photo of ecstacy911
    ecstacy911 Female 18-29
    105 posts
    December 31, 2010 at 12:54 pm
    seems like the film Idiocracy was correct.
  19. Profile photo of skypirate
    skypirate Male 18-29
    2402 posts
    December 31, 2010 at 1:01 pm
    fact:bears eat beets, bears beats Battlestar Galatia.
  20. Profile photo of Protagoris
    Protagoris Male 18-29
    38 posts
    December 31, 2010 at 1:06 pm
    Brain size matters somewhat, because mammals and humans especially have very developed Cerebrums, which is where we do all of our thinking, problem solving, creation, voluntary actions, and those sorts of things. THe smaller this is, or more accurately the less gyri and sulci (groves and bends and fissures between material in the brain) the less we can do those things. This is why we, on average, are smarter than a dog. Of course, what constitutes intelligence and being dumb or smart are all a matter of philosophy and theory. Is it logic abilities, critical thinking, creativity, some combination? Really, we don`t know enough about the brain to decide. But what we really don`t want is for our brains to start getting "smoother."
  21. Profile photo of ElMustache
    ElMustache Male 18-29
    1625 posts
    December 31, 2010 at 1:19 pm
    this explains jersey shore.
  22. Profile photo of SlothOfDoom
    SlothOfDoom Male 30-39
    2033 posts
    December 31, 2010 at 1:20 pm
    Yes, humans are evolving to be so stupid that they don`t even read the articles they post on IAB before making up the tagline.
  23. Profile photo of ggolbez
    ggolbez Male 18-29
    1933 posts
    December 31, 2010 at 1:32 pm
    I am not completely sold that brain size is equal to intelligence. A gorilla`s brain is larger than a human`s, and we can see who is smarter there (with exceptions, of course).
  24. Profile photo of Billy62
    Billy62 Male 18-29
    159 posts
    December 31, 2010 at 1:33 pm
    The brain`s been shrinking over the past 20,000 years. People have gotten much smarter over the past 20,000 years. Therefore, the shrinking brain means people are evolving to be dumber! ...wait...
  25. Profile photo of ryan99
    ryan99 Male 13-17
    2345 posts
    December 31, 2010 at 1:42 pm
    Over the last 20,000 years? How the drat do they know what size a brain was back when we were cavemen. I am pretty sure we are smarter now than we ever were then, but thanks.
  26. Profile photo of Boredered
    Boredered Male 18-29
    2506 posts
    December 31, 2010 at 1:44 pm
    Maybe we would understand why our brains are shrinking if they weren`t shrinking
  27. Profile photo of willtrottier
    willtrottier Male 18-29
    34 posts
    December 31, 2010 at 2:00 pm
    they should probably study people outside of the state of California.
  28. Profile photo of iceblack
    iceblack Male 18-29
    551 posts
    December 31, 2010 at 2:05 pm
    It still amazes me how many people think that "evolving to" is a correct sentence. No animal "evolves to" anything in particular. Every one of the animals that are alive today are slightly different than their ancestors, even their fathers, that`s evolution and it`s random, it doesn`t have to be for better or worse, is just random mutation, which is by the way unnoticeable

    Natural selection is the process that "selects" the animals that evolved for the better. Not because is a better evolution, but because the mutation they had works better than others under the circumstances those animals are living in. For example, and this is WAY exaggerated, if a giraffe is born with a small neck, it`s probable it will die because it wouldn`t reach the food and won`t pass the small-neck genes to another generation, other giraffes with larger necks will... Both cases are Evolution, only large necked giraffes represent Natural Selection
  29. Profile photo of TKD_Master
    TKD_Master Male 18-29
    4794 posts
    December 31, 2010 at 2:08 pm
    Optimization. make it smaller but still capable of doing the same old things, then you have room for MOAR!!
  30. Profile photo of iceblack
    iceblack Male 18-29
    551 posts
    December 31, 2010 at 2:14 pm
    About the human brain shrinking. The article is pretty clear, for the people who actually read it.

    A larger brain is not more intelligent necessarily, neurological connections is what makes an intelligent animal think better. A larger brain has more space for those connections and could be more intelligent, but smaller brains could also have more connections and would be more intelligent that a larger brain with fewer connections and also would be more efficient, spending less energy

    This has to do also with the fact that human heads are, in fact, larger than they should. That`s because we are, without even noticing, changing natural selection. Under natural circumstances, big headed babies could die in labor, and their mothers too... But because we now have cesarean labors, we give those big headed babies a chance, thus they can live and pass their big-headed genes to the next generation, that`s artificial selection, or breeding
  31. Profile photo of duffytoler
    duffytoler Male 40-49
    5195 posts
    December 31, 2010 at 2:23 pm
    >>fact:bears eat beets, bears beats Battlestar Galatia.

    Bears beats Craprica, not BSG.
  32. Profile photo of Angilion
    Angilion Male 40-49
    12387 posts
    December 31, 2010 at 2:25 pm
    I think the relation is brain size relative to body size over a species. In other words, your brain makes up a certain percentage of your weight. A whale will be much larger, but his brain will have a lower percentage of his body weight, and he will therefore be less intelligent. Within a species--human to human or whale to whale--size doesn`t matter, but between species--humans to dogs, for example--relative size does matter. I think.

    It`s more complex than that. The brain mass/body mass ratio doesn`t really matter at all - it`s just a rule of thumb. It`s mostly down to what parts of the brain are present and what they`re used for. Dogs, for example, seem to use about half of their entire brain for scent processing. If humans did that, we`d be a lot dumber than we are now. It`s not just how much brain or brain mass to body mass ratio, it`s what type of brain.
  33. Profile photo of Angilion
    Angilion Male 40-49
    12387 posts
    December 31, 2010 at 2:29 pm
    Over the last 20,000 years? How the drat do they know what size a brain was back when we were cavemen.

    Which we weren`t, but anyway.

    Estimates of brain size are based on the amount of space inside skulls.

    I am pretty sure we are smarter now than we ever were then, but thanks.

    We have no idea. You`re mistaking knowledge for intelligence.

    People have gotten much smarter over the past 20,000 years.

    Different person, same mistake.
  34. Profile photo of green_batman
    green_batman Female 18-29
    728 posts
    December 31, 2010 at 2:29 pm
    @ryan99: We have human skulls from quite far back in time and we can compare the sizes of the cavity that holds the brain in ancient and modern humans. According to this article, the cavity is, on average, smaller in modern humans. It doesn`t necessarily mean that we are getting dumber, but we aren`t necessarily smarter, either. We have more technological knowledge and the benefit of years of specialized academic training, but we don`t necessarily learn as quickly or retain as well as our ancestors did. We can`t know that because there is no direct correlation between learning and memory capabilities and brain size.
  35. Profile photo of Fatninja01
    Fatninja01 Male 30-39
    25420 posts
    December 31, 2010 at 2:49 pm
    meh...
  36. Profile photo of s0rd3dvis1on
    s0rd3dvis1on Male 18-29
    2388 posts
    December 31, 2010 at 2:57 pm
    its not the size of the hammer its the nail youre throwing it at
  37. Profile photo of Afugy
    Afugy Male 30-39
    199 posts
    December 31, 2010 at 2:57 pm
    "Remember that the brain uses about ~20% of our caloric intake."

    Thats a cool little fact.
  38. Profile photo of cobrakiller
    cobrakiller Male 18-29
    7469 posts
    December 31, 2010 at 2:58 pm
    answer: stupid people have more kids.

    unintelligent family: ~5 kids or so usually

    intelligent (educated) family: ~1 or 2 kids usually

    am i wrong?
  39. Profile photo of handys003
    handys003 Male 50-59
    2402 posts
    December 31, 2010 at 3:24 pm
    You wouldn`t think so with all the big headed, know-it-all jackasses I`ve come across in my life.

    Yes I-A-B I left myself open. Bring it on.
  40. Profile photo of handys003
    handys003 Male 50-59
    2402 posts
    December 31, 2010 at 3:29 pm
    @cobrakiller

    That depends on what you define as intelligent. Different people different skills. Survival skills rely on how intelligence is used. I know quite a few who are consider "stupid`, but know how to survive 90 years. Where as I met some with fine degrees who couldn`t hack the economic times. it`s all in the talents.
  41. Profile photo of AmberCherry
    AmberCherry Female 18-29
    98 posts
    December 31, 2010 at 3:32 pm
    Idiocracy. Funniest scariest movie ever.
  42. Profile photo of SilverThread
    SilverThread Male 30-39
    3431 posts
    December 31, 2010 at 4:17 pm
    If brain size correlated directly to intelligence then we would be in zoos run by elephants as they served their benevolent whale overlords.
  43. Profile photo of tridirk
    tridirk Male 50-59
    313 posts
    December 31, 2010 at 4:23 pm
    You from a large family Cobra?
  44. Profile photo of jamie76
    jamie76 Male 30-39
    2345 posts
    December 31, 2010 at 5:48 pm
    considering that 98% of people are total morons, I would say that we are getting stupider. In about 100 years people will all be referred to as Special and have Velcro straps on their shoes.
  45. Profile photo of Gerry1of1
    Gerry1of1 Male 50-59
    36662 posts
    December 31, 2010 at 5:59 pm
    I`ve been saying for years we are allowing the dumb ones to breed unchecked. I realize this includes many members of my own family.
  46. Profile photo of NotTHATbored
    NotTHATbored Female 18-29
    1101 posts
    December 31, 2010 at 8:46 pm
    I`m with silver. Besides having a bigger brain doesn`t mean your automatically more intelligent than the next person, it has just as much to do with how well your neurons are connected!
  47. Profile photo of Armauld
    Armauld Female 30-39
    107 posts
    December 31, 2010 at 10:18 pm
    Read the comments under the article, you get a classic example of people getting stupider (look for a mention of "Michael Vick").
  48. Profile photo of Toider
    Toider Male 18-29
    452 posts
    January 1, 2011 at 12:41 am
    The sheer amount of the non-word "stupider" used in this forum alone has pretty much proven this fact. We are doomed...
  49. Profile photo of norgle
    norgle Male 18-29
    255 posts
    January 1, 2011 at 1:20 am
    stu·pid    adjective,-er, -est, noun

    Stupid, stupider, stupidest. Not familiar with the comparative and superlative forms? Maybe you`re the one that needs to buy a dictionary.
  50. Profile photo of kribbe
    kribbe Male 18-29
    2006 posts
    January 1, 2011 at 4:15 am
    they do know that Einstein had a smaller brain than the average human?
  51. Profile photo of almightybob1
    almightybob1 Male 18-29
    4290 posts
    January 1, 2011 at 7:25 am
    The sheer amount of the non-word "stupider" used in this forum alone has pretty much proven this fact. We are doomed...
    "Stupider" is the correct comparative form. You would happily say "stupidest" for the superlative, therefore the comparative must be "stupider". Any dictionary will confirm it.
  52. Profile photo of almightybob1
    almightybob1 Male 18-29
    4290 posts
    January 1, 2011 at 7:27 am
    If brain size correlated directly to intelligence then we would be in zoos run by elephants as they served their benevolent whale overlords.
    This made me laugh a lot. I kind of want it to happen now.
  53. Profile photo of LazyMe484
    LazyMe484 Male 18-29
    10441 posts
    January 1, 2011 at 8:37 am
    scientists--at least the few who have stumbled onto this trend--don`t really have an explanation yet.

    *cough* Then why is IAB labeling it a "fact"? Oh right, to get people to click the link. You suck IAB!

    "Stupider" is the correct comparative form.

    Haha! I`m going to start using that word now...
  54. Profile photo of Angelmassb
    Angelmassb Male 18-29
    15511 posts
    January 1, 2011 at 10:59 am
    I believe it
  55. Profile photo of Wizensilver
    Wizensilver Male 13-17
    405 posts
    January 1, 2011 at 1:58 pm
    I thought brain size had no correlation to intelligence?
  56. Profile photo of 8BitHero
    8BitHero Male 18-29
    5414 posts
    January 1, 2011 at 3:58 pm
    @ Wizensilver
    It doesn`t. I guess in America it does.
  57. Profile photo of alikabul
    alikabul Male 18-29
    695 posts
    January 1, 2011 at 4:01 pm
    The answer is simple. Smart people have 2.6 kids and dumbass hillbillies have 37. The dumb reproduce more.
  58. Profile photo of redspade
    redspade Male 13-17
    150 posts
    January 1, 2011 at 4:31 pm
    i just hate it when people put the word "fact" in front of things.
  59. Profile photo of KitFox
    KitFox Female 30-39
    595 posts
    January 1, 2011 at 4:36 pm
    Research studies have found that our diets of high-carb and surprisingly low-protein diets are essentially starving our cells of nutrients while we are simultaneously overfeeding ourselves. That`s why I live a Paleo lifestyle!
  60. Profile photo of shalantas
    shalantas Male 18-29
    426 posts
    January 1, 2011 at 5:58 pm
    ummm. im not understand this thing. so it say we dumber every day and stuff? because uhhh. wel my mom sayd im smart and dat people love people. *drool*
  61. Profile photo of danky
    danky Male 18-29
    559 posts
    January 1, 2011 at 9:21 pm
    i read about this months ago
  62. Profile photo of Gerry1of1
    Gerry1of1 Male 50-59
    36662 posts
    January 2, 2011 at 8:52 am
    This explain Glen Beck.
  63. Profile photo of obhwfgirl
    obhwfgirl Female 18-29
    582 posts
    January 2, 2011 at 11:40 am
    Okay, the Neanderthal`s had larger brains than us and we won out because we had better creative thinking and memory. It isn`t just size but how you use it! If we`ve lost non-essential areas (maybe I`m talking out my ass here, but how much of our brain was dedicated to full body hair growth? how much on digesting a variety of food sources? how much on temperature control?), then it`s been BETTER for us because we have more efficient systems.


    I wanna read the actual research study and listen to the actual lecture by John Hawks at the University of Wisconsin. If he`s trying to insinuate from his findings that we are more stupid, then he is a very poor scientist and educator.
  64. Profile photo of Angilion
    Angilion Male 40-49
    12387 posts
    January 2, 2011 at 2:52 pm
    Okay, the Neanderthal`s had larger brains than us and we won out because we had better creative thinking and memory.

    Do you have any evidence for that? The last Neanderthal died long before recorded history, so how can you evaluate their creative thinking and memory?

    maybe I`m talking out my ass here, but how much of our brain was dedicated to full body hair growth?

    Probably about the same miniscule amount as is being used for full body hair growth today. Humans have roughly as many hairs as other similarly sized primates, such as chimps. A lot thinner, but just as many.

    how much on digesting a variety of food sources?

    Same as digesting a variety of food sources today, presumably.

    how much on temperature control?

    Same as today, presumably.
  65. Profile photo of Angilion
    Angilion Male 40-49
    12387 posts
    January 2, 2011 at 3:09 pm
    I thought brain size had no correlation to intelligence?

    It seems very unlikely that it does, at least within humans and within a very wide range.

    For example, the average size of men`s brains is a fair bit greater than the average size of women`s brains. It doesn`t seem to make any difference.

    Or the very obvious example - people with far higher than average intelligence. If there was a correlation, then people like Einstein, Hawking, etc, would need heads the size of beachballs to fit their brains inside.

    Einstein`s brain has been heavily studied - it was much smaller than average for a man, but there are several apparent anomalies, especially in parts associated with maths, that could indicate greater ability...however, are they cause, effect or both?
  66. Profile photo of kula35
    kula35 Male 18-29
    159 posts
    January 2, 2011 at 8:08 pm
    Brain size has nothing to do with intelligence.
  67. Profile photo of premierwondr
    premierwondr Male 18-29
    975 posts
    January 3, 2011 at 9:15 am
    I`m pretty sure people are cramming their brains with knowledge today, I doubt we`re getting any more stupid.
  68. Profile photo of osmandias
    osmandias Male 40-49
    205 posts
    January 3, 2011 at 12:05 pm
    I knew this for some decades. And the same is knowen for domesticated animals. A pigs brain is much smaller than that of a boar. Apparently you need a bigger brain to survive in the wild. A brain with lot of matter dedicated to sensual input, quick reactions and other vital functions.
  69. Profile photo of raikun12
    raikun12 Male 18-29
    586 posts
    January 4, 2011 at 12:13 am
    it`s not the size of the brain that matters but more so the speed of the connections within the brain.
  70. Profile photo of meepmaker
    meepmaker Male 30-39
    6694 posts
    January 4, 2011 at 9:26 am
    My brain is just sucking up all the other brains and getting bigger.
  71. Profile photo of rubysapphire
    rubysapphire Female 18-29
    16 posts
    January 4, 2011 at 10:05 pm
    Generally, people with lower IQ will have more children than people with a higher IQ. And because they people with the lower IQ will have children with low IQ, the offspring will do the same. Not all families with tons of children are of low IQ, but majority of the low income/lower class members of a society will just have children repeatedly as a way of generating more income.

    Also, for about 500 years people were persecuted for having a high IQ, or thinking differently than the church in any way.

    The brains with the most crevices, all those little wrinkles on it, have the most capacity for brain power.

    Brains are cool. When you hold them in your hand they are soggy and kind of gooey and go through your fingers. They`re still cool.

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