Hamilton Institute » Psychology http://www.hamiltoninstitute.com Smart Content for Smart People Fri, 13 Jun 2014 05:23:51 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.5.1 Modern Times – it is not just a Bob Dylan album http://www.hamiltoninstitute.com/modern-times-it-is-not-just-a-bob-dylan-album/ http://www.hamiltoninstitute.com/modern-times-it-is-not-just-a-bob-dylan-album/#comments Fri, 13 Jun 2014 05:23:51 +0000 udey http://www.hamiltoninstitute.com/?p=25398 Modern Times – it is not just a Bob Dylan album
How online discussion forums have changed and How we spend time in internet communications now
by Ujjwal Dey

The trend with online content activity is universal. People want to talk about recent stuff. They are not interested in an archive or in studying what great minds discussed a few years or months ago in the forum.

I actually kept the Group in the new software at www.IQmind.org limited to one Group and only to be created by Admin. Because otherwise the clutter would be a bigger turn off than the usual habit of online users to look for recent talks and move on.

phpBB forums have its use. In IT industry it is indispensable so that people can discuss bugs, errors, seek help, advice, etc. So there will be very active BB forums on C++ or Java or Photoshop and the likes. But for entertainment – no one uses a forum it seems. For intellectual pursuits they prefer an interactive website or a new tests/ puzzles or in person meetings.

I originally believed that in the new software the big Chat Room with ability of users to make their own rooms as in the past IHIQS chat app would be all that would be needed to offer to members. They would login and chat with like minded people and not leave a legacy or history or articles or lengthy threads. Just talk, move on – like fast food.

Success and continued success of Facebook is a study in Psychology. Sitting idle is always boring. Doing productive work requires mental effort and or physical effort. But using Facebook and scrolling endlessly and connecting from one person to next offers humans the convenience of being “engaged” – of doing something – it stimulates the mind out of boredom but doesn’t burden it with responsibility or accountability or deadlines or hierarchy.

I hope to provide similar stop, chat, sip and move on kind of website with the new software. No lengthy diatribes or grudges or IQ envy etc. No activity but the activity of doing something without reason, purpose or cause – just because it is there – maybe because it is fun – and then get on with the daily life.

Best Wishes,
Ujjwal Dey
Director, Orison-B high IQ Society

http://www.hamiltoninstitute.com/modern-times-it-is-not-just-a-bob-dylan-album/feed/ 0
Online Social Networks: Enhanced Connectivity or Accelerated Isolation? http://www.hamiltoninstitute.com/online-social-networks-enhanced-connectivity-or-accelerated-isolation/ http://www.hamiltoninstitute.com/online-social-networks-enhanced-connectivity-or-accelerated-isolation/#comments Mon, 14 Nov 2011 06:06:29 +0000 admin http://hamiltoninstitute.com/?p=3 A decade ago staying in touch with friends may have involved meeting at a local café after work or at a playground after school. However, with the introduction of online social networks, we are able to connect with and talk to friends from the comfort of our homes. The convenience and increased connectivity offered by social networks have prompted many people to change their primary method of interpersonal communication from physical meetings to the virtual world of the Internet. Thus, the number of people using social networking sites has more than doubled in the two years from 2007 to 2009 with more than 55.6 million adults in the US alone using social networking sites on a regular basis (Adam Ostrow).

This surge in the number of users has cause researchers to closely study the impacts of social networking site on our lives. These studies were based off of a survey conducted in 2006, which dealt primarily with the ways in which the composition of a person’s core group had varied. Sociologists Miller McPherson, Lynn Smith‐Lovin and Matthew Brashears analyzed the changes that had occurred in core group relationships in the 21st century. They announced in their paper, ”Social Isolation in America: Changes in Core Discussion Networks over Two Decades,” that the average American’s core discussion network, the network of people with whom he or she discusses important issues, has shrunk and become less diverse over the past twenty years. They stated that the average American’s core group has dwindled from 2.94 to 2.08 people, with close to half of the population reporting that they had no one with which to discuss important issues. The researchers also noticed a striking drop in the number of the people that included non-kin members in their core group. However they offered no explanation as to why this drastic change had occurred.

Researchers in the field of interpersonal relationships soon began attributing these changes to the widespread use of online social networks. In their paper “Online Communication and Adolescent Relationships” psychologists Subrahmanyam and Greenfield argued that online social networking sites promoted the formation of “less rich” and “superficial” relationships due to the lack of physical cues such as gestures and eye contact. They also argued that the use of instant messaging was making users less interested in face-to-face communication.

Another concern about online social networking was that it might lead to users distancing themselves from each other. A Social Networking Sites’ (SNS) user has a “Profile” that records all that he has done on the website and displays his “status updates,” recent photos and even relationship changes. Thus by simply viewing a profile page users feel as though they have kept in touch, whereas in reality all they have read is that which the owner of the page wants the entire world to see; users know nothing more than an acquaintance does. Thus if SNS were to become the primary method of communication, it could result in users distancing themselves from their core group.

A third concern that researchers expressed was that social networks were highly impersonal. As social networks are a form of Computer Mediated Communication (CMC) they have a highly reduced number of socio-emotional cues. Social Presence Theory (Joseph Walther) suggests that the lower the number of cues that a medium offers, the less is the attention that a user pays to messages received over such a medium, and as CMC offers less cues than Face-To-Face (FTF) meetings, people may pay less attention to a message received over a social network.

However, further research by the Pew Internet and American Life Project and theories on Computer Mediated Communication by Joseph Walther have begun to support opposing views: views that say social networks have actually brought people together. Their studies have dealt mainly with the two extreme degrees of relationships: the core group and the acquaintances. Social networks have had positive impacts on both these extreme; both have become more intimate, but due to different reasons.

The Core Group

The core group is formed of the few people with whom a person discusses matters that are especially significant to them. The members of the core group are the people that a person relies on for social and emotional support. It usually consists of close friends, spouses and immediate family.

Your core group would generally share the same viewpoints and values as you do, as these would be the people you would most likely get along with. Social networks help diversify and expand your core group by introducing you to like-minded people through fan-pages and online groups.

Social networks can also help build core groups for people who may otherwise have been isolated. A teenage boy with Down’s syndrome or a 50-year-old woman who is a fan of hard rock may meet people that share similar interests and problems through a social network’s group page. Facebook alone returned hundreds of results for a search on “Down’s Syndrome groups” and “Hard rock fans” reflecting that people have taken advantage of online groups to reach out to those sharing similar problems and interests. Thus social networks help build, expand and diversify core groups.

Psychologists Subrahmanyam and Greenfield argued that online social networking sites promoted the formation of “less rich” and “superficial” relationships due to the lack of physical cues such as gestures and eye contact. However the lack of physical cues has the opposite effect: it promotes an emotionally richer relationship. As social networks are a form of Computer Mediated Communication, it has a reduced set of cues, primarily verbal, that a user can receive. Due to the absence of physical cues, users are freed from social pressures such as “I must smile” or “I must look interested”. This provides more time for message construction and review, which can result in more emotionally involved and relationship centered conversations (Joseph Walther). Walther further investigated how relationships proceed under a reduced set of cues. He studied relationships between couples that communicated primarily Face-to-Face, via the telephone or letters. He found that couples formed a more favourable impression of each other when the number of cues was the lowest, i.e., the letter. Thus social networks can be a platform to increase the emotional quality of a relationship.

The argument that social networks cause core groups to drift apart is flawed primarily due to the fact that one’s core group is comprised of the people with whom one would interact most frequently online, through Instant Messaging, or offline, in Face-to-Face conversations, and thus the probability that they would drift apart is minimal to non-existent.

Thus online social networks have had positive impacts on our relationship with our core group and later studies have confirmed this. A survey conducted by the Pew Internet Research Center reports that the average American in 2008 had 1.93 discussion confidants, but this number increased to 2.16 discussion confidants in 2011. Users of social networking sites had 2.45 close ties and only 5% reported having no one in their core discussion group compared to 7% of Internet users, that did not use social networking sites, who reported feeling isolated (Keith, Goulet, Rainie and Purcell).

The report further stated that “users of social networking services are 26% less likely to have used neighbors as a source of companionship” (Hampton, Sessions, Her, Rainie). This does not indicate that user’s do not know their neighbours, but that they do not need to turn to them for companionship in times of need, as they have formed close and strong ties with their core group and are thus able to turn to them in the event of any problem, rather than to their neighbours, whom they know primarily because of physical proximity, something that has become arbitrary in the days of the Internet.

This raises the question of why the survey conducted by sociologists McPherson, Smith‐Lovin and Brashears concluded that people were more isolated after the invention of social networking. The answer lies in the fact that the researchers may have presented their questions with inherent ambiguities. To measure the size of a person’s core network they asked volunteers, “from time to time most people discuss important matters with other people. Looking back over the past six months who are the people with whom you discussed matters important to you?” (Miller McPherson, Lynn Smith‐Lovin and Matthew Brashears).

The researchers could have overlooked the possibility that people may understand the word “discuss” differently when discussions occur online. Sociologists Keith, Sessions, Her, and Rainie proposed that respondents may name people that they see more frequently in person rather than people they see online. They conducted a similar survey in 2009, but to gauge respondents’ core networks they introduced a secondary question, “now let’s think about people you know in another way. Looking back over the last six months, who are the people especially significant in your life?” (Keith, Sessions, Her, and Rainie)

They conjectured that if the meaning of the word “discuss” had changed, people would answer the second question with names that were different from those in the first question. The results of the survey confirmed this; “26% of people listed one, 16% listed two, and 18% listed between three and five people who were especially significant in their lives, but with whom they did not “discuss” important matters” (Keith, Sessions, Her, and Rainie). Although people may have different interpretations of the word “significant” which may have altered results, the study was accurate enough to conclude that the word “discuss” may not include online discussions. This could account for the grim findings of the 2006 survey conducted by McPherson, Smith‐Lovin and Brashears.

The Acquaintances

Thus social networks have brought us closer to our core group, but what of the other extreme of our relationships? Research points to the fact that online social networking has also had significant, positive, impact on the way we interact with our acquaintances.

In an early paper on Computer Mediated Communication (CMC) Koehler and Trimpop stated that based on experiments conducted by them on people that had never met before, users were more direct and confrontational in conversations via CMCs. This caused the buildup of the popular outlook that CMC based communication was highly impersonal and the fear that this “impersonality” would lead to the “superficial” relationships hypothesized by Subrahmanyam and Greenfield. However these experiments had an inherent flaw: it was a one-time, time-bound experiment. The researchers failed to take into account the fact that people behave differently when they expect to meet again (Joseph Walther).

Walther realized this and conducted another study where people were told they would work on three tasks in groups of three over CMCs or Face-To-Face (FTF). One half of the participants were told that they would work with a different group each time and the other half were told that they would work with the same group. Results showed that the two groups of users of CMC had a profound difference in levels of personal interaction. Further, he stated that, once the difference in behavior due to the “anticipation of future interaction” was taken into account there was no difference between CMC and FTF users on “immediacy, similarity, composure and receptivity of group members” (Walther).

Social networks offer the possibility of future interaction and thus people tend to be more social when they meet, whether at a meeting or a bar. Online social networks also facilitate the growth of these relationships due to the highly asynchronous nature of online messaging (Walther). A person would be reluctant to take time away from matters that are of importance to him to arrange a meeting with an acquaintance, but he can “meet” the acquaintance online from the comfort of his home. Also, since both parties do not have to be present at the same time, people log on to social networks when they are finished with their work for the day, and are thus in a more genial mood. Free from other pressures, people tend to form a more favorable perception of their interlocutor, thus fostering the growth of the relationship (Walther). This results in CMC groups being more socially oriented than FTF groups (Walther). People that have met Face-To-Face have taken time away from other pressing issues and thus immediately get to work on the task issued to them. However the CMC groups meet at times when its members have completed their work, and thus they also spend time in socially involved conversation.

Social networks can also keep relationships “dormant” for extended periods of time until they can be “revived” by virtual or physical meetings. A reunion with an old friend from high school is no longer left to a chance meeting, but can be pre-planned online. Online social networks also offer the possibility of finding people you once knew, to rekindle or begin a relationship.

The online group “Best of Facebook Stories” tells a story of childhood sweetheartsCarmen Aponte and David Lorenzano. Eight weeks before their planned marriage the two had a fight, which culminated in them calling off their wedding and separating. Both of them led normal lives and got married to other people, however both marriages ended, with David divorcing his wife and Carmen being widowed. Forty years after their planned wedding David and Carmen met each other on Facebook again. They began talking online, slowly picking up the pieces of their shattered relationship and began rekindling their romance. David soon flew to Carmen’s home in Texas and asked her to marry him. Forty years after they went their separate ways, they were able to wield the power of the online social network to find each other again.


Online social networks have brought us closer to our core group by enabling us to have more emotionally involved conversations with them. Asynchronous chat allows us to talk to, and keep in touch with, our many acquaintances at leisure. Social networks also contain the possibility of rekindling an old relationship through a reunion, physical or virtual. Thus, contrary to common perceptions, online social networks have enhanced connectivity between individuals.



Works Cited

  1. Ostrow, Adam. Number of Social Networking Users Has Doubled Since 2007. Mashable, 28 July 2009. Web. 21 July 2011.
  2. McPherson, Miller, Lynn Smith-Lovin, and Matthew E. Brashears. “Social Isolation in America: Changes in Core Discussion Networks over Two Decades.” American Sociological Review 71.3 June (2006): 353-75. Web. 21 July 2011.
  3. Walther, Joseph. “Computer-Mediated Communication: Impersonal, Interpersonal, and Hyperpersonal Interaction. “Communication Research 23.1 Feb. (1996). Web. 15 July 2011.
  4. Hampton, Keith, Lauren Goulet, Lee Rainie, and Kristen Purcell. Social Networking sites and our lives. Washington DC: Pew Internet Research Center, 2011. Web. 16 July 2011.
  5. Hampton, Keith, Lauren Sessions, Eun Her, and Lee Rainie. Social Isolation and New Technology. Washington DC: Pew Internet Research Center, 2009. Web. 15 July 2011.
  6. Koehler, T, and R Trimpop. “Self Esteem and Self Reference In Computer Mediated Communication.” Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association. Toronto. 8 Dec. 1996. Web. 23 July 2011.
  7. Subrahmanyam, Kaveri, and Patricia Greenfield. “Online Communication and Adolescent Relationships.” The Future of Children Spring (2008). Web. 23 July 2011.
  8. Ruane, Michael E. “Woman abandoned in Fairfax as a baby finds her rescuers.” The Washington Post 17 Dec. 2009. Web. 25 July 2011.
  9. “Young Love Rekindled on Facebook.” Best of Facebook Stories. N.p., 11 Feb. 2011. Web. 5 Aug. 2011.
http://www.hamiltoninstitute.com/online-social-networks-enhanced-connectivity-or-accelerated-isolation/feed/ 0
How does the brain work? http://www.hamiltoninstitute.com/how-does-the-brain-work/ http://www.hamiltoninstitute.com/how-does-the-brain-work/#comments Tue, 17 Aug 2010 18:18:35 +0000 admin http://hamiltoninstitute.com/?p=175 In the movie Avatar, Dr. Grace Augustine says to Selfridge that the roots of the trees on Pandora have “more connections than the human brain”. Implied is that having connections leads to intelligence. Indeed, you often hear claims that childhood experience is important because it leads to new connections in the human brain. Commentators will sometimes even argue that more connections provide more pathways for information to proceed through the brain, leading to greater intelligence. But does this really make sense?

In my book Intelligence and the Brain, I point out the flaws with thinking about the brain in this way. In Avatar, Augustine goes on to say that the tree network functions like a data network, similar to our own internet. In data networks, each connection represents a switch that may be changed by the program or data currently running. In this way, data may be arbitrarily routed through the network. Typing a website address into your browser can result in information from that website’s server being transmitted to your computer. Similarly, in your own computer, data may be stored at any location in computer memory. Software then consists of instructions that tell switches or transistors to change, resulting in the data being retrieved. Further instructions then identify which switches to change to implement standard computing functions. The results are then stored in new memory locations, such as a screen buffer that displays the result on the computer’s monitor. All computing may be reduced down to this use of switches.

However, recent advances in the brain sciences over the last few decades have revealed that the brain is not like a data network. Neurons are not like transistors. They do not function like switches. They cannot take an input and then channel it to one of their outputs and not others based on some instruction. Instead, brain science has found that a neuron functions as a gating mechanism. If its input exceeds a certain threshold, a signal is produced that is carried to all of a neuron’s output connections. This tells us that simply increasing the number of connections in the brain would not lead to increased intelligence. It would just eventually lead to the situation where any input to the nervous system would have the same outcome–all of the neurons firing simultaneously.

The Role of Abstraction

So if the brain does not work like a data network, how does it work? Psychologists have known for a long time that abstraction is central to human intelligence. Humans are intelligent because we are good at abstracting out information from specific concrete experiences. Indeed, IQ tests get more difficult by employing problems that rely on more and more difficult abstractions to solve them. So if we want to understand how the brain works, we really need to look at abstraction.

We find that the ability to understand abstractions increases over childhood. Unfortunately, some people do not appreciate this because the concept of IQ can be confusing to those who are not familiar with how IQ test scores are calculated. They will hear that IQ stays constant over childhood. This is then taken to imply that intelligence does not change over this time. However, this is not true.

IQ is a measure of performance relative to people of the same age–so it says nothing about how performance changes with age. Indeed, originally IQ was determined by the formula of Mental Age / Chronological Age * 100. Using this formula, since Chronological Age increases, IQ can only stay constant if Mental Age increases as well. Supporting this, it is readily observed that a 16-year-old with an IQ of 130 is able to solve much more difficult IQ problems than a younger child with the same IQ.

Pruning of the Neural Connections

How do the connections of the brain then develop? Brain science has found that the child’s brain will initially develop an abundance of neural connections. It then goes through a pruning process, gradually reducing the number of connections over childhood until adulthood is reached. This pruning of the connections over childhood corresponds with the increasing ability to understand abstractions.

This role of pruning should not be surprising. The challenge in perceiving an abstraction is to filter out all of the information that is present in a concrete instance of an abstraction that is irrelevant to the commonality across situations. By pruning the connections, only relevant information is retained, enabling an abstraction to be perceived.

How Memory Works

This role of pruning becomes more clear when we look at how memory works in the brain. Memory typically refers to our ability to memorize facts and figures. For instance, learning that the capital of France is Paris. Unlike abstractions that take months or even years to build up, we can memorize facts after only a single experience.

Brain science has found that memory is due to an auto-associative network in the brain. Auto-associative networks have the characteristic that they can be presented with a pattern, and they learn to respond with the identical pattern. This does not initially seem to be that useful. However, once an auto-associative has been presented with a pattern, it can then recall that same pattern even if it is only presented with a fragment of the original pattern later on.

This may still not sound that interesting. However, think of how your own memory works. If you are presented with the information capital-France-Paris, your auto-associative network can store this as a pattern or configuration. If you are then presented with capital and France, your auto-associative network will automatically complete the pattern and return the answer–Paris.

Many other examples of memory fit this process of pattern completion. On your birthday, you ate pizza and cake. If you then think of your birthday, your auto-associative network will recall the pizza and cake. If you are shown the steps to send an email, your auto-associative network will store this as a pattern. When you next think of sending an email, your auto-associative network will recall the exact steps involved. In short, we use pattern completion every day to recall previously learnt information.

Limitations of Memory

Given that pattern completion is so fundamental to behavior, this leads to the question of whether human intelligence consists of only memory. It does not, for the reason implied above. While pattern completion can be very useful, it is, by itself, also very limited.

For instance, imagine if your brain had an auto-associative network that was plugged in to only your sensory receptors. You might then be told that the capital of France is Paris. If someone else later asks you what the capital of France is, your auto-associative network would make no response. The reason is that the verbal question would activate completely different sensory inputs to what you read, so there would be no way that the auto-associative network could recognize the pattern and complete it.

This is where abstraction comes in. By abstracting out information, the same representation can be activated across different concrete instances. In this way, information can generalize across situations, leading to successful performance in what are otherwise novel situations.

Moving On

In this brief article, I have tried to briefly summarize what is now known about how the brain works. More detailed explanations and additional information is available in my book Intelligence and the Brain, including the environmental and genetic factors that affect IQ, further differences between the human brain and computers, what characterizes savant syndrome, and factors that influence the development of genius.

http://www.hamiltoninstitute.com/how-does-the-brain-work/feed/ 0
A Theory of the Brain: IQ Tests & Intelligence http://www.hamiltoninstitute.com/a-theory-of-the-brain-iq-tests-intelligence/ http://www.hamiltoninstitute.com/a-theory-of-the-brain-iq-tests-intelligence/#comments Fri, 30 Jan 2009 18:24:23 +0000 admin http://hamiltoninstitute.com/?p=178 Abstract

The brain has several processes that seem independent of each other, such as listening and speaking; to take two instances of skills that despite seemingly inter-related are actually performed in separate areas of the brain. Similar conclusions can be drawn about multiple different skills that humans possess – mental ones such as mathematics, music and language, as well as physical skills of dancing or athletics. From observational inferences and deductive reasoning we can reasonably reach the conclusion that higher IQ has a good correlation with higher power of comprehension. The question that this paper would like to address is that of how this comprehension power actually works and how it is related to the powers of abstract pattern recognition which most of the IQ tests measure. It would also like to develop some sort of a theoretical model that could explain how the comprehension actually works inside the brain, which can bear out the observations that are seen in the actual world.

Theoretical Model

With specified education and diligent work most people can achieve greater levels of expertise, comprehension and understanding of specialized subjects compared to people with higher intelligence but lower levels of experience in the relevant areas. The paper of course tries to demonstrate the difference between the intelligences of people while removing the effects of prior education or specialized training.

The central idea behind the paper is to assume that separate areas in the brain do the higher processing tasks such as music or mathematics but that several of the processing areas do overlap. Not only that, the higher comprehension skills and pattern recognition abilities presents themselves in the form often of enhanced learning capabilities. One of the main tenets of this paper is to present learning as an ability to create internal mental structures that help logically analyze a problem and the creation and subsequent ability to use it is what is referred to hereafter as comprehension or learning. For example, learning calculus or French by looking at a few initial formulae/sentences and creating an internal structure, a rulebook, or when and how they can be used would be an example of the way higher intelligence or IQ usually presents.

The measurement of abstract pattern recognition skills would help in this area. It helps to see if the test subjects are able to quickly and accurately create a mental construct of a rulebook in their minds that helps analyze the given data and come up with a possible solution to the problem given. This is what distinguishes some students from quickly understanding some things while other struggle. There are times when this ability can be learnt, such as when one reaches a certain level of mastery in any subject through diligent practice, but that ability will be discussed later.

Creating Mental Constructs

The idea behind this theory is that people with higher IQs are able to learn and understand concepts faster because they are able to independently assess and create inside their minds mental models of the various rules and framework within which the concepts operate, enabling faster learning.

Creation of these consists of three main portions, which are, of course, inputs, the processing and the outputs. With regards to a lot of skills these items can be specialized. People can possess specialized inputs for music, as well as skills of specialized processing and outputs. These are, for the purposes of explanation in this paper, specialized neural pathways that are sometimes created, some natural while some artificial accidents, in people’s brains which leads to magnificent gifts in mathematics or music while it might not be immediately relevant to the IQ tests or general intelligence as it relates to comprehension.

But dealing with the parts that aren’t directly related to specialization we can start with the idea that a lot of learning relates to understanding and application of concepts.

First of all, the creation of internal mental models from given examples requires the bridging of several gaps that exist when only sketchy information is available. This bridging is the process that people with higher pattern recognition skills (higher IQ) demonstrate better than their peers.

A large part of the intelligence tests also test speed, however this isn’t necessarily a sign of higher cognitive skills. These can probably measure gradations in the IQ but are not indicative necessarily of higher intelligence. Even with higher speeds for certain types of cognition, larger intuitive leaps or comprehension cannot be achieved with the same processing skills regardless of the brain speed.

The intuitive leaps that happen to connect the dots and develop greater patterns are the basic parameter by which intelligence is defined and it is in this area that the IQ tests have certain familiarity and usefulness.


The question can be made of how memory relates to increased intelligence as whole is a hard one. Increased memory does help a lot because it enables recollection from a vast amount of varied information whose juxtaposition would be useful for intelligence as it pertains to pattern recognition. Having a larger vessel to draw from makes it possible to draw newer and different conclusions and to see varied patterns in the same data that might not have been possible to see without the benefit of those memories and the perspectives they bring. This could be the reason for greater wisdom that older people are purported to possess.

Part of the reason behind higher intelligence and pattern recognition is also that of the instant and replaceable memory that is used while solving problems – the RAM of the mind. What is of equal importance however is also the ΔRAM, which is the speed with which the major components in the memory are changed in order to recognize newer patterns as well as the increasing complexity of the items within the RAM. The second component can be altered through education and preparation but the first one depends very much on internal neuron wiring. This change requires the correct identification and choosing of the right subsets of information nuggets in the mind that are perceived to be useful to the problem at hand. This in itself is a pattern recognition pathway, which is similar to the larger issue of the intelligence and problem solving, much in an analogous fashion to fractal geometry.


What the thought experiment of the model of the human brain above demonstrates is a possible explanation of how intelligence works as well as provide an understanding of the usefulness of IQ testing as it relates to the human cognition rather than its correlation or predictive ability with respect to science and mathematics.

Maths is held in high esteem because of its perceived, and often measures, ability to predict intellectual capacity. Children with higher IQs are often also better at mathematics than their peers. An explanation of this phenomenon, which springs from the model above, is that mathematics, more than any other science, relies on the purer aspects of internal data manipulation and intuitive leaps. Higher level maths skills such as is used in PhDs are not the case discussed here as the information gap is too high to reach that level, and a certain level of education cannot be avoided.

Another curious distinction is that higher mental speed and memory are not necessarily intertwined with intelligence to such an extent that they are inseparable. Both these qualities in isolation can be developed through practice without achieving an increased level of understanding as exhibited by people with higher intelligence for comparison. These factors are undoubtedly useful and probably the prevalence of these traits is higher at a statistically significant level amongst the gifted, but those could be measurement errors rather than a necessary component. After all, many people with normal intelligence have similar memory and mental speed without exhibiting the levels of comprehension that the gifted often possess.

What this means is that the mental processes of a polymath or a supposed genius is in fact fairly different from the ordinary mental processes in its ability to perceive patterns from lesser information, create logical mental models out of it that fits the given data, and to generate predictions from it that holds to the selfsame mental model. This article is just to provide a new look at the processes involved to see how the brain itself interacts at one level of abstraction beyond the neurons to see if this can be understood.

http://www.hamiltoninstitute.com/a-theory-of-the-brain-iq-tests-intelligence/feed/ 0
The Smile of The Cheshire Cat: Splicing The Split Mind http://www.hamiltoninstitute.com/the-smile-of-the-cheshire-cat-splicing-the-split-mind/ http://www.hamiltoninstitute.com/the-smile-of-the-cheshire-cat-splicing-the-split-mind/#comments Sun, 09 Sep 2007 18:33:47 +0000 admin http://hamiltoninstitute.com/?p=181 copyright CNSforum--http://www.cnsforum.com (Used with permission)When the Cheshire cat, in Lewis Caroll’s Alice in Wonderland gradually disappeared, nothing was left of it except a smile – a most enigmatic smile. It is left to the observer to determine if this smile was there to reassure us as we plumb the mysteries in the science of life and living or to grin mischievously at our ignorance and mock our efforts.

Schizophrenia is just as enigmatic as the eery smile of the Cheshire cat. Schizophrenia is a psychosis; it is a psychiatric condition which describes a form of mental illness in which there is a distortion of how reality is perceived and/or expressed. This distortion, takes the form of a disorganization of thought, hallucinations and delusions.

The term “schizophrenia” was first coined by Eugen Bleuler, a Swiss Psychiatrist, and its etymology is rooted in two Greek words, “schizo” (to split) and “phreno” (mind). Literarily put, Schizophrenia means, “a split mind”; this alludes, to the disorganization of thought and speech which avidly labels this condition and not to the phenomenom of “multiple personalities” as many might be wont to think. This distortion could be severe enough to disrupt normal social functioning.

Download the complete pdf here...  (circa 500K)

http://www.hamiltoninstitute.com/the-smile-of-the-cheshire-cat-splicing-the-split-mind/feed/ 0
Una cuestión de identidad http://www.hamiltoninstitute.com/una-cuestion-de-identidad/ http://www.hamiltoninstitute.com/una-cuestion-de-identidad/#comments Fri, 24 Aug 2007 23:10:35 +0000 admin http://hamiltoninstitute.com/?p=326 Es sabido, y se ha escrito mucho acerca de las bondades de la PNL integrada a la profesión del Coaching. De hecho muchas de las habilidades del coach y de la práctica misma del coaching se integran perfectamente con esta disciplina. Sin embargo, quisiera centrarme en el aspecto paradójico de esta realidad, la de entender que esta integración es un arma de doble filo, donde el coaching puede perder identidad.

Quienes visitan mi blog o han leído mi libro saben que una de mis principales preocupaciones radica en identificar, defender y mantener la identidad del coaching como profesión. He encontrado en el coaching una profesión especialmente distinguida respecto de cualquier otro tipo de ayuda, y estoy convencido que el coaching aún se encuentra en una etapa “adolescente” donde su identidad o madurez peligra ante las influencias de otras disciplinas que quieren beber “sangre joven” para seguir viviendo.

El crecimiento del coaching

La realidad del crecimiento del mercado del coaching a nivel internacional (1.5 billones de dólares al año) nos debería hacer reflexionar. Algunos se centran en su espectacular crecimiento (por cierto acelerado y desproporcionado), olvidando los peligros que encierra esta realidad. No es mi intención analizar aquí las razones de este crecimiento y sus posibles consecuencias, sino simplemente alertar, a quienes creen verdaderamente en esta profesión, a que vean que no todo crecimiento es necesariamente “bueno”, y que pueden existir ciertos desvíos en la madurez del coaching a la que deberíamos adelantarnos antes de que comience a perder identidad. No es cuestión de “marcar diferencias”, sino más bien de comprender las peculiaridades de esta profesión excepcional, y cuidarla. Si se diluyen las razones y métodos peculiares del coaching, tarde o temprano desaparecerá (si este fuera el caso, probablemente el Coaching intente tomar nuevas formas para subsistir como profesión, aunque esto es muy difícil de predecir aún).

¿Por qué el coaching no es PNL?

Como ya he comentado no pretendo explicar las bondades de la PNL en el coaching (realidad de la que ya se ha escrito bastante), sino por el contrario comprender que la realidad del primero (PNL) puede confundirse y mezclarse con la del segundo (el coaching).

La propia definición de la PNL hoy resulta más compleja que cuando fue creada. Su evolución y desarrollo la han traído a terrenos que probablemente ni los propios fundadores hubieran imaginado al crearla. Por ello comparar la PNL (teniendo en cuenta su desarrollo), con el “coaching” (adolescente desde mi punto de vista) resulta más que complejo. Sin embargo algunos aspectos básicos sí pueden y deben aclararse.

Existen varias razones por las que el Coaching no es PNL. Entre ellas, porque el Coaching no realiza “auto-hipnosis” (aunque para la PNL esto sea un trabajo “natural”), no busca necesariamente cambiar los “programas mentales”, no trabaja sobre el “inconsciente” (aunque esto pueda surgir como un resultado secundario de una sesión), no tiene una teoría sobre la “realidad” (si se “crea” o se “descubre” es cuestión del coachee, no del coaching), no “guía” en ningún momento a sus clientes, no es una herramientas basada en el lenguaje (a pesar de que algunos coaches basan su filosofía profesional en la Ontología del Lenguaje), y por último y relacionado con el punto anterior, el Coaching no es una herramienta para eliminar fobias (primero porque no es una herramienta y segundo porque no es terapia).

Si estudiamos en profundidad ambas disciplinas las diferencias pueden llegar a revelarse con más claridad, pero dicho estudio sería altamente ambicioso para desarrollar en este artículo. Sin embargo podemos introducir parte de este estudio bajo un análisis básico (que debería de motivar futuros estudios en la materia) y que describo a continuación.

Las siguientes definiciones de PNL son de gran relevancia, y podemos confiar que en ellas encontramos al menos lo esencial de la PNL.

PNL, Programación Neurolingüística, es el arte y la ciencia de la excelencia personal y profesional, proporcionando a las personas y a las organizaciones las herramientas de comunicación que les permita obtener los mejores resultados. Estas herramientas de comunicación pueden ser aprendidas por todo el mundo, con el fin de conseguir la mayor efectividad en los el desarrollo personal y profesional. (…) Observando el trabajo de prestigiosos profesionales de la psicoterapia y del crecimiento, Bandler y Grinder comenzaron a desarrollar procesos sistemáticos y teorías, que fueron la bases sobre las que se construyó, más tarde, la PNL. Fundamentalmente estudiaron el trabajo de Virginia Satir, una de las mejores terapeutas familiares, Fritz Perls, desarrollador de la Terapia Gestalt, y Milton H. Erickson, el famoso Hipnoterapeuta. (…) Su trabajó consistió en descubrir los modelos que estos profesionales, tan alejados en sus planteamientos teóricos, tenían en común, y cómo hacían para conseguir unos resultados tan excelentes. Estos tres terapeutas eran diferentes en todo, en sus modelos teóricos, en su forma de abordar las terapias, en sus técnicas e, incluso, en su personalidad. Pero los tres conseguían resultados maravillosos. Bandler y Grinder analizaron todos los patrones que tenían en común. Estos patrones recibieron, años más tarde dentro de la PNL, los nombres de Metamodelo, Submodalidades, Reframing, Patrones de lenguaje, condiciones de la buena formulación y claves de acceso ocular”. (www.pnlnet.com, la negrita es mía)

PNL es la práctica de comprender cómo las personas organizan sus pensamientos, sentimientos, lenguaje y comportamiento para producir resultados. La PNL Provee a las personas una metodología para modelar el funcionamiento excepcional conseguido por los genios y líderes en su campo”. John Grinder (http://www.nlpacademy.co.uk/WhatisNLP.asp, la negrita es mía)


Personas como Virginia Satir, Milton Erickson y Fritz Perls tuvieron resultados asombrosos en sus clientes. Ellas son algunas de las personas a partir de las cuales Richard Bandler construye un modelo formal estudiando sus lenguajes y patrones de conducta. Luego aplicó este modelo en su trabajo”. (http://www.neurolinguisticprogramming.com/, la negrita es mía)


Programación Neuro-Lingüística es el estudio sistémico de la comunicación humana. Es el modelado de la excelencia y la manera de comprender como llegar a resultados extraordinarios y permitir a otros alcanzar lo mejor que ellos puedan alcanzar” Joseph O’Connor (la negrita es mía)

Encuentro un denominador común, en relación a la identidad de esta disciplina, en las definiciones de prácticamente todos los expertos en PNL (tanto en sus propios fundadores como en sus discípulos y que por lógica no podemos exponer en este artículo). Este denominador común lo he sintetizado bajo el siguiente postulado: modelar el comportamiento humano que produce resultados extraordinarios para ser reproducido por cualquier otro ser humano. El éxito de la PNL radica precisamente en este descubrimiento.

Quisiera aclarar, antes de continuar, que la PNL y su postulado esencial (tal como lo he expresado en el párrafo anterior) resulta una herramienta muy útil para los profesionales del coaching (realidad a la que ya me he referido, y se ha escrito bastante). Sin embargo y paradójicamente (y aquí es donde quiero llegar) este postulado en sí mismo es OPUESTO al postulado del Coaching como disciplina.

Lo diré claramente para no producir confusión. La introducción de la PNL en el coaching es complementaria, sólo y siempre y cuando el Coaching la utilice (a la PNL) como una herramienta, y ésta última no prevalezca sobre los principios del Coaching. Ahora bien, si nos centramos en la propia disciplina o profesión del Coaching y de la PNL, ambos postulados básicos son, como he comentado, esencialmente opuestos.

Si la PNL utiliza los patrones comunes que cualquier ser humano puede aplicar para conseguir resultados extraordinarios (base esencial del postulado de la PNL), el Coaching utiliza los “patrones” particulares que el individuo posee para conseguir resultados únicos que ningún otro ser humano puede conseguir. Mientras que la PNL ayuda a cualquier hombre a conseguir lo que pocos (personas de éxito) han conseguido, el Coaching procura conseguir que el hombre desarrolle lo que nadie ha conseguido aún. Dicho de otro modo, la PNL extrae patrones de éxito de lo “General” del ser humano, para aplicarlo a lo “Particular” (un individuo en concreto). Por el contrario, el Coaching extrae lo esencial y único de lo “Particular” (que posee una individuo y que no existe, ni se encuentra en ningún otro individuo), para aplicarlo sobre sí mismo.

Por esta razón para aquellos que aún no han comprendido la correcta integración de ambas disciplinas, y la sana relación que debieran tener, mi recomendación es, escuchad a Sócrates como un anticipo de la ciencia del coaching, diciendo y repitiendo “conócete a ti mismo”, y deja el “conocer a los demás” como una herramienta a merced de este principio.

Leonardo Esteban  Ravier

Artículo publicado en Coaching Magazine (www.coachingmagazine.net)

http://www.hamiltoninstitute.com/una-cuestion-de-identidad/feed/ 0