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Author Topic: Could brain surgery accidentally make me brighter?  (Read 18099 times)

paul.fr

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Suppose i went in for brain surgery, and whilst they were doing whatever it is they do, they prodded the wrong part. Could that act as a stimulus to kick start or make that area more alert?

Would i become intelligent...erm, more intelligent?
« Last Edit: 09/03/2008 14:55:10 by ukmicky »


 

Offline DoctorBeaver

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could brain surgery accidentally make me brighter?
« Reply #1 on: 31/01/2008 14:38:37 »
Oh brother. How desperate can some people get?  ::)
 

another_someone

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« Reply #2 on: 31/01/2008 17:42:06 »
No, I cannot imagine that anything a brain surgeon prods will get better for the prodding, but if that part is interfering with another part, then prodding it may stop the interference, and so make the other parts work more efficiently.
 

Offline rosalind dna

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« Reply #3 on: 31/01/2008 18:39:39 »
No because your intelligence grows with the things that you learn or experience through your life !!!!
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

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« Reply #4 on: 31/01/2008 18:43:45 »
No because your intelligence grows with the things that you learn or experience through your life !!!!

Sorry, but I feel I must disagree with you. The things that you learn or experience through your life increase your knowledge, not your intelligence.
 

Offline opus

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« Reply #5 on: 31/01/2008 19:00:33 »
....isn't there a ' rubber band theory' of innate and learned intelligence- so you are programmed with a certain intelligence dictated solely by your genes, and this can become stretched by your intellectual experience......?
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

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« Reply #6 on: 31/01/2008 20:55:59 »
I don't believe in that. Intelligence is a potential. It is our ability to learn, and to analyse and make sense of what we learn. We can learn to analyse better and make more sense from what we learn, we can even learn to learn more effectively; but the level of the potential never alters. We merely learn to make better use of that potential.

If that potential is lacking, then the person will not be able to learn. You cannot educate a person into being more intelligent, merely educate them to make the best of the intelligence, the potential, they have.
 

Offline opus

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« Reply #7 on: 31/01/2008 22:10:28 »
Yep, that's what I was trying to say...
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

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« Reply #8 on: 31/01/2008 22:13:40 »
I thought so  ;)
 

Offline neilep

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« Reply #9 on: 01/02/2008 04:57:24 »
Brain surgery would increase my intelligence if it involved the insertion of one. :D
 

Offline Karen W.

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« Reply #10 on: 01/02/2008 05:12:39 »
HEE HEE HEE.. our so funny... where will you get a doner?
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

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« Reply #11 on: 01/02/2008 09:28:01 »
HEE HEE HEE.. our so funny... where will you get a doner?

You can get doners in my local kebab house!
 

Offline SkylordRic

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« Reply #12 on: 01/02/2008 19:17:52 »
newbielink:http://www.militarytimes.com/multimedia/video/powers/ [nonactive]

No evidence you can get smarter but proves you won't necessarily get any dumber either.
 

Offline RD

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« Reply #13 on: 02/02/2008 13:51:11 »
No, I cannot imagine that anything a brain surgeon prods will get better for the prodding, but if that part is interfering with another part, then prodding it may stop the interference, and so make the other parts work more efficiently.
Like surgery for epilepsy ...
http://www.epilepsy.org.uk/info/surgery.html
 

another_someone

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« Reply #14 on: 02/02/2008 15:52:48 »
No, I cannot imagine that anything a brain surgeon prods will get better for the prodding, but if that part is interfering with another part, then prodding it may stop the interference, and so make the other parts work more efficiently.
Like surgery for epilepsy ...
http://www.epilepsy.org.uk/info/surgery.html

That was pretty much what I had in mind.  Ofcourse, the counter argument might be that epilepsy does not effect intelligence, only our ability to use our intelligence (i.e. the potential was there even before, even if it was not manifest).
« Last Edit: 02/02/2008 15:54:41 by another_someone »
 

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« Reply #15 on: 02/02/2008 16:17:20 »
Epilepsy has no bearing whatsoever on intelligence. It could, though, interfere with learning were it serious enough.

What interests me greatly is how some autistic people can demonstrate amazing abilities. Kevin Peek is a classic example. His mathematical ability is incredible. I saw him calculate the 9th root of a 30 digit number faster than it could be done on a calculator; and he did it in his head - not even using jottings on a piece of paper!

Another autistic child (a 10yo boy) I saw on TV many years ago was taken to the Houses Of Parliament in London. He had never seen them before. They let him look at the building for a while (I forget how long, but it was only a few minutes) then took him away and asked him to draw it. He was absolutely spot on - doors and windows in the right place and proportion and he even got the number of crenellations and bobbly bits on the top exactly right.

I also saw a young child who could play any piece of music on the piano after having heard it only once. They played him compositions by Liszt, Chopin, Mozart etc and he played them perfectly after listening to them just once. I got to grade 8 on piano and went to music college, yet at my peak I would still struggle with Chopin & Liszt; and here was a young kid playing them like a veteran concert pianist.

If anyone ever works out what it is that gives these people that sort of ability, it could be a real boost to the human race.
« Last Edit: 02/02/2008 16:22:33 by DoctorBeaver »
 

another_someone

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« Reply #16 on: 02/02/2008 16:22:12 »
Epilepsy has no bearing whatsoever on intelligence. It could, though, interfere with learning were it serious enough.

This is the problem with terms like 'brighter' - what does it mean?

For many, the term implies academic competence, for which learning ability is as crucial as IQ.
 

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« Reply #17 on: 02/02/2008 16:30:39 »
Unfortunately, George, that is commonly the case. Yet I know a bricklayer who, although not exactly the sharpest tool in the box (he struggles to even read and write), can look at a building plan and estimate on the spot how many bricks will be required.

My uncle spent most of his childhood in hospital with severe eczema. As a consequence he grew to adulthood barely able to read or write. But give him an engineering drawing and he would make it. His wife, my aunt, was always proud of his boss having said he was the best toolmaker he'd ever known.

You cannot compare those sort of abilities with purely academic abilities. Neither is superior to the other; but people will still say that someone with a degree is "brighter" than that bricklayer or my late uncle.
 

Offline JnA

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« Reply #18 on: 03/02/2008 08:29:45 »
Portions of the brain that are unused or rarely used can be 'rewired' for other functions (to a point). It has been shown in the matter of blind folk that some parts of the visual cortex had been 'rewired', trouble is the brain itself did the rewiring,I doubt that surgical intervention would be as effective.

Nice idea though. Even if something had to be 'sacrificed' in order to increase intelligence...
 

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« Reply #19 on: 03/02/2008 13:15:45 »
Portions of the brain that are unused or rarely used can be 'rewired' for other functions (to a point). It has been shown in the matter of blind folk that some parts of the visual cortex had been 'rewired', trouble is the brain itself did the rewiring...

This is a very common situation. After brain trauma, the victim may be left with reduced, or zero, capability in a certain area (for instance, speech). The brain, as JnA put it, "re-wires" itself to by-pass that area and re-assigns its functions to a different part of the brain. The victim, in this instance, has to learn to speak all over again (although, commonly, there is residual ability rather than the facility being lost completely).
 

another_someone

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« Reply #20 on: 03/02/2008 16:00:30 »
The problem is, what are we trying to achieve?

My understanding is that IQ itself is not so much about processing capacity (in the sense of the number of processing units) as processing speed.  As such, the increased thickness of axons, and the shortness of the axons, is more important than a large number of long axons.

On the other hand, the ability to learn is more about being able to create new connections quickly (rather than about how many connections you already have).

No doubt there are other parameters that have other effects upon the brain, but what is it you are trying to achieve, and how would surgery be likely to achieve it?
 

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« Reply #21 on: 03/02/2008 21:04:58 »
Quote
My understanding is that IQ itself is not so much about processing capacity (in the sense of the number of processing units) as processing speed.

Although that has some merit, I don't think it's the whole case. Some people just do not have the level of "intelligence" required to be able to perform certain tasks no matter how long they stick at it.

On the other hand, practice can increase the speed with which one can perform certain tasks. Take mental arithmetic as a case in point. The more you do it, the better you get & the faster you can do it. But there are some people who simply cannot do it at all. They could sit down for hours on end trying to calculate a 4th root (assuming they were told the method of doing it) yet still be unable to get the answer right - or, maybe, not even getting as far as any kind of answer.

I've managed to get a few people who were very slow at mental arithmetic to improve their ability by scoring darts games. However, I've also failed miserably with the same technique on others who had no ability for mental arithmetic whatsoever in the first place.
 

Offline RD

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« Reply #22 on: 04/02/2008 15:37:07 »
Portions of the brain that are unused or rarely used can be 'rewired' for other functions (to a point). It has been shown in the matter of blind folk that some parts of the visual cortex had been 'rewired', trouble is the brain itself did the rewiring...

This is a very common situation. After brain trauma, the victim may be left with reduced, or zero, capability in a certain area (for instance, speech). The brain, as JnA put it, "re-wires" itself to by-pass that area and re-assigns its functions to a different part of the brain. The victim, in this instance, has to learn to speak all over again (although, commonly, there is residual ability rather than the facility being lost completely).
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neuroplasticity
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

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« Reply #23 on: 04/02/2008 15:54:49 »
Portions of the brain that are unused or rarely used can be 'rewired' for other functions (to a point). It has been shown in the matter of blind folk that some parts of the visual cortex had been 'rewired', trouble is the brain itself did the rewiring...

This is a very common situation. After brain trauma, the victim may be left with reduced, or zero, capability in a certain area (for instance, speech). The brain, as JnA put it, "re-wires" itself to by-pass that area and re-assigns its functions to a different part of the brain. The victim, in this instance, has to learn to speak all over again (although, commonly, there is residual ability rather than the facility being lost completely).
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neuroplasticity

I didn't want to bother people with technical terminology
 

Offline RD

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« Reply #24 on: 06/02/2008 13:55:47 »
Including "technical terminology" is not necessarily pedantry: it could help with further reading on this topic.
 

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