Fact: The Human Brain Is Getting Smaller

Submitted by: obay 6 years ago in Science
http://www.theatlanticwire.com/features/view/feature/Are-Humans-Evolving-to-Be-Dumber-2841

Are humans evolving to be dumber? If so, and it looks like it is, this makes so much sense about the world today.
There are 71 comments:
Female 16
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.
0
Reply
Male 6,693
My brain is just sucking up all the other brains and getting bigger.
0
Reply
Male 586
it`s not the size of the brain that matters but more so the speed of the connections within the brain.
0
Reply
Male 205
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.
0
Reply
Male 975
I`m pretty sure people are cramming their brains with knowledge today, I doubt we`re getting any more stupid.
0
Reply
Male 159
Brain size has nothing to do with intelligence.
0
Reply
Male 12,365
[quote]I thought brain size had no correlation to intelligence?[/quote]

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?
0
Reply
Male 12,365
[quote]Okay, the Neanderthal`s had larger brains than us and we won out because we had better creative thinking and memory.[/quote]

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?

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

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.

[quote]how much on digesting a variety of food sources?[/quote]

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

[quote]how much on temperature control?[/quote]

Same as today, presumably.
0
Reply
Female 582
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.
0
Reply
Male 39,958
This explain Glen Beck.
0
Reply
Male 559
i read about this months ago
0
Reply
Male 426
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*
0
Reply
Female 595
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!
0
Reply
Male 150
i just hate it when people put the word "fact" in front of things.
0
Reply
Male 695
The answer is simple. Smart people have 2.6 kids and dumbass hillbillies have 37. The dumb reproduce more.
0
Reply
Male 5,413
@ Wizensilver
It doesn`t. I guess in America it does.
0
Reply
Male 405
I thought brain size had no correlation to intelligence?
0
Reply
Male 15,510
I believe it
0
Reply
Male 10,440
[quote] scientists--at least the few who have stumbled onto this trend--don`t really have an explanation yet. [/quote]

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

[quote] "Stupider" is the correct comparative form. [/quote]

Haha! I`m going to start using that word now...
0
Reply
Male 4,290
[quote]If brain size correlated directly to intelligence then we would be in zoos run by elephants as they served their benevolent whale overlords. [/quote]
This made me laugh a lot. I kind of want it to happen now.
0
Reply
Male 4,290
[quote]The sheer amount of the non-word "stupider" used in this forum alone has pretty much proven this fact. We are doomed...[/quote]
"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.
0
Reply
Male 2,004
they do know that Einstein had a smaller brain than the average human?
0
Reply
Male 255
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.
0
Reply
Male 452
The sheer amount of the non-word "stupider" used in this forum alone has pretty much proven this fact. We are doomed...
0
Reply
Female 107
Read the comments under the article, you get a classic example of people getting stupider (look for a mention of "Michael Vick").
0
Reply
Female 1,101
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!
0
Reply
Male 39,958
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.
0
Reply
Male 2,344
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.
0
Reply
Male 313
You from a large family Cobra?
0
Reply
Male 3,431
If brain size correlated directly to intelligence then we would be in zoos run by elephants as they served their benevolent whale overlords.
0
Reply
Female 98
Idiocracy. Funniest scariest movie ever.
0
Reply
Male 2,402
@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.
0
Reply
Male 2,402
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.
0
Reply
Male 7,834
answer: stupid people have more kids.

unintelligent family: ~5 kids or so usually

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

am i wrong?
0
Reply
Male 199
"Remember that the brain uses about ~20% of our caloric intake."

Thats a cool little fact.
0
Reply
Male 2,388
its not the size of the hammer its the nail youre throwing it at
0
Reply
Male 25,416
meh...
0
Reply
Female 728
@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.
0
Reply
Male 12,365
[quote]Over the last 20,000 years? How the drat do they know what size a brain was back when we were cavemen.[/quote]

Which we weren`t, but anyway.

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

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

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

[quote]People have gotten much smarter over the past 20,000 years.[/quote]

Different person, same mistake.
0
Reply
Male 12,365
[quote]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.[/quote]

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.
0
Reply
Male 5,194
>>fact:bears eat beets, bears beats Battlestar Galatia.

Bears beats Craprica, not BSG.
0
Reply
Male 551
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
0
Reply
Male 4,793
Optimization. make it smaller but still capable of doing the same old things, then you have room for MOAR!!
0
Reply
Male 551
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
0
Reply
Male 34
they should probably study people outside of the state of California.
0
Reply
Male 2,506
Maybe we would understand why our brains are shrinking if they weren`t shrinking
0
Reply
Male 2,344
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.
0
Reply
Male 159
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...
0
Reply
Male 1,931
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).
0
Reply
Male 2,033
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.
0
Reply
Male 1,625
this explains jersey shore.
0
Reply
Male 38
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."
0
Reply
2,845
fact:bears eat beets, bears beats Battlestar Galatia.
0
Reply
Female 105
seems like the film Idiocracy was correct.
0
Reply
Male 812
If you just look at the U.S., we`re definitely getting dumber.
0
Reply
Male 3,332
"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.
0
Reply
Male 1,540
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.
0
Reply
Male 1,451
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.
0
Reply
Male 2,422
It`s getting leaner and meaner.
0
Reply
Male 2,419
@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.
0
Reply
Male 2,579
So thats why all those Neanderthal looking ape men are so dumb.
0
Reply
Male 2,419
So apparently poster didn`t read the article.
0
Reply
Male 762
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.
0
Reply
Male 1,547
@Skypirate

Fact: CPUs don`t change due to natural selection.
0
Reply
Male 292
if anyone here has seen idiocracy, it`s a pretty accurate depiction of where we are headed and this backs it up
0
Reply
Male 313
That`s progressive!
0
Reply
Male 512
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.
0
Reply
2,845
fact: cpus are getting smaller and faster.
0
Reply
Male 506
The result of human rights, freedom and lack of breeding licenses.
0
Reply
Male 178
Makes sense... For some people at least.
0
Reply
Male 67
Link: Fact: The Human Brain Is Getting Smaller [Rate Link] - Are humans evolving to be dumber? If so, and it looks like it is, this makes so much sense about the world today.
0
Reply