What Makes the Human Mind Unique?
The human brain's ability to recall the past, plan for the future, reason abstractly and navigate complex social relationships makes it far superior to other species'. But how did that happen?
What's the Latest Development?
New research has shed light onto the mystery of our own minds. Specifically, why the human mind is so superior to those of even monkeys and chimps, our closest animal relatives. A team of German scientists has extracted brain cells, post mortem, from people, chimps and monkeys of many ages, looking to see which genes were active when they were alive. By examining the RNA of the prefrontal and cerebellar cortices, scientists found that different gene combinations helped determine different brain abilities in each species.
What's the Big Idea?
The human mind is unique in its ability to recall the past, plan for the future, reason abstractly and navigate complex social relationships. But why has the physical evolution of Homo sapiens resulted in such convincing mental superiority? To summarize, human beings have "suites of genes that probably cause their brains to be 'plastic' and thus receptive to change far longer (to the age of about five) than is true for chimps or monkeys (whose brains are plastic for less than a year after birth)."
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A new study explores how certain personality traits affect individuals' attitudes on obesity in others.
- The study compared personality traits and obesity views among more than 3,000 mothers.
- The results showed that the personality traits neuroticism and extraversion are linked to more negative views and behaviors related to obesity.
- People who scored high in conscientiousness are more likely to experience "fat phobia.
The rise of anti-scientific thinking and conspiracy is a concerning trend.
- Fifty years later after one of the greatest achievements of mankind, there's a growing number of moon landing deniers. They are part of a larger trend of anti-scientific thinking.
- Climate change, anti-vaccination and other assorted conspiratorial mindsets are a detriment and show a tangible impediment to fostering real progress or societal change.
- All of these separate anti-scientific beliefs share a troubling root of intellectual dishonesty and ignorance.
The history of the Geneva Conventions tells us how the international community draws the line on brutality.
- Henry Dunant's work led to the Red Cross and conventions on treating prisoners humanely.
- Four Geneva Conventions defined the rules for prisoners of war, torture, naval and medical personnel and more.
- Amendments to the agreements reflect the modern world but have not been ratified by all countries.
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