Pupil size surprisingly linked to differences in intelligence

Maybe eyes really are windows into the soul — or at least into the brain, as a new study finds.

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  • Researchers find a correlation between pupil size and differences in cognitive ability.
  • The larger the pupil, the higher the intelligence.
  • The explanation for why this happens lies within the brain, but more research is needed.
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How to live an intellectual life

Being an intellectual is not really how it is depicted in popular culture.

  • When you picture an intellectual, who do you see? Professor Zena Hitz says that somewhere along the way, the idea of what an intellectual is and does became distorted.
  • "The real thing is something more extraordinary but also more available to us," Hitz adds, differentiating between an intellectual life constantly in pursuit of something else, and one that enjoys ordinary activities like reading and thinking.
  • An example is young Albert Einstein, who spoke highly of his time working in a patent office and hatching "beautiful ideas" long before becoming a famous physicist.


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Do animals see the world the way we do?

We can't ask them, so scientists have devised an experiment.

Credit: sebastiangora/Roxana/Adobe Stock/Big Think
  • Humans have the capacity for conscious awareness of our visual world.
  • While all sighted animals respond to visual stimuli, we don't know if any of them consciously take note of what they're seeing in the way that we do.
  • Researchers from Yale have devised experiments that suggest that rhesus monkeys share this ability.

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Whales warned each other about hunters in the 19th century

Digitized logbooks from the 1800s reveal a steep decline in strike rate for whalers.

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  • Newly digitized whalers' logbooks allow researchers to analyze trends in 19th-century whaling.
  • The records show that whales soon learned to anticipate and evade predation from humans.
  • The behavioral changes suggest social learning at work since the change in their behavior occurred too quickly to be evolutionary.
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    Are geniuses real? The neuroscience and myths of visionaries

    Labeling thinkers like Albert Einstein and Steve Jobs as "other" may be stifling humanity's creative potential.

    • Revolutionary ideas and culture-shifting inventions are often credited to specific individuals, but how often do these "geniuses" actually operate in creative silos?
    • Tim Sanders, former chief strategy officer at Yahoo, argues that there are three myths getting in the way of innovative ideas and productive collaborations: the myths of the expert, the eureka moment, and the "lone inventor."
    • More than an innate quality reserved for an elite group, neuroscientist Heather Berlin and neurobiologist Joy Hirsch explain how creativity looks in the brain, and how given opportunity, resources, and attitude, we can all be like Bach, Beethoven, and Steve Jobs.

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