Brain Size and Social Intelligence

There is a double-standard in psychology that claims that humans have unique socio-cognitive skills, and a prominent explanation for this is the Social Intelligence or Social Brain Hypothesis: that human brains are outsized due to the enormous complexity of our social relations. I have noted in previous posts that the skills psychologists assume are human-specific… Continue reading Brain Size and Social Intelligence

Review: ‘What It Means to Be Human’ (Joanna Bourke, 2011, Virago Press)

It is increasingly evident that the skills psychologists assume are uniquely human are observable in many other animals. Chimpanzees appear to act according to the false beliefs of others; Ravens take into account the vision of others when hiding their cache; Bonobos use different vocal signals for different situations. As the latter study's author, Dr.… Continue reading Review: ‘What It Means to Be Human’ (Joanna Bourke, 2011, Virago Press)

Reheated Chomsky

Chomsky's theory of Universal Grammar  has faced near-constant criticism since the 1950s, and recent criticism has been very strong indeed, but Chomksy-ist theory (if not Universal Grammar exactly) remains the primary force in modern psychology and lingustics. How is this? Chomsky originally proposed that there are underlying principles of grammar consistent across all languages, and… Continue reading Reheated Chomsky