What Is Intelligence?

What Is Intelligence - In 2004, a Nobel Prize was awarded for the discovery of the central secret of human and animal intelligence. A pattern recognition ability was revealed, which enables us to learn, understand and interact with our world.

The nervous system assembles knowledge by identifying and storing the patterns of past experience. Intelligence is the dynamic process, which searches and locates wise responses from this vast neural knowledge base. Numerous brain organs isolate, identify and store coded memories of the patterns of light, sound, taste and smells. They act intelligently.

As an example, codes in the olfactory bulb remember and recognize smells. The 2004 prize winning discovery uncovered a combinatorial coding routine, which powers the sensory intelligence of this organ. Recognition of pertinent smells decides the approach and avoidance behaviors of animals. The coded recognition patterns of myriad such organs are integrated into a massive neural knowledge base. This website explains how intuition, an algorithmic routine, manipulates this knowledge to reason, plan, solve problems and act with passion and concern.

  • While IQ tests and Emotional Intelligence Quotients measure intelligence, they do not explain the intelligence process.
  • Combinatorial codes, used by the olfactory system, transmit intelligent information.
  • Combinatorial memories in nerve cells can store an infinity of data.
  • Intuition is an algorithmic pattern recognition process, which can find swift answers from such infinite databases.
  • Sequences of combinatorial matrices integrate information in the brain.
  • Pattern recognition of combinations enables the recognition of events.
  • Sentences represent dynamic patterns.
  • Combinatorial codes enable infinite differentiation.
  • Nature evolved increasingly complex intelligences to cope with the environment.
  • Emotions are pattern recognition messages, which control the behavior of humans and animals.

What Is Intelligence - IQ Merely Measures Intelligence
Human intelligence works through pattern recognition. Neurons do not compute. Since science assumes that neurons compute, it is unable to computationally link varied mental abilities. Thurstone listed 7 intelligent mental abilities - verbal comprehension, word fluency, computational ability, spatial visualization, associative memory, perceptual speed, and reasoning. Guilford extended this to list 120 abilities. Since intelligence included such a variety of seemingly unrelated skills, scientists devised an overall IQ test to measure the total intelligence level of a person.

Most IQ assessments apply a number of tests, which assess abilities such as verbal and mathematical reasoning, logical thinking, vocabulary and general knowledge. These tests have been applied in many areas. But, since these tests were only useful in a scholastic environment, other scientists suggested that a measurement of emotional intelligence would be a better indicator of success in life. IQ tests and Emotional Intelligence Quotients measure intelligence. But, they do not explain the intelligence process.

What Is Intelligence - Combinatorial Codes & Intelligence
Charles Spearman speculated that there could be a link between the disparate intelligences of the mind. Since most of the results of traditional psychometric intelligence tests tend to correlate with each other, he speculated that there was a general faculty, which enabled intelligence.

Combinatorial coding is the key to that faculty. This routine was discovered following landmark animal experiments. Calcium imaging identified individual mouse receptor neurons, which fired on recognition of specific odors. The investigators exposed the neurons to a range of smells. They found that a single receptor could identify several odors. At the same time, each odor was identified by several receptors.

Different combinations of receptors fired to identify different odors. They followed a combinatorial code. Even slight changes in chemical structure activated different combinations of receptors. Thus, octanol smelled like oranges, while the similar compound octanoic acid smelled like sweat. Remembered codes enabled the organ to identify odors. Leslie Vosshall reports that, in her lab, ordinary volunteers, (not wine tasters or perfumers), could clearly distinguish between different combinations of 128 odor molecules, indicating an average human ability to differentiate between 1 trillion smells. The pivotal significance of these findings is that combinatorial codes can store vast memories for patterns to transmit intelligent information.

What Is Intelligence - Combinatorial Codes & Huge Memories
The memories of computers are measured in terms of their smallest addressable element, called a byte. A byte usually contains eight binary digits. Nerve cells also have an “all or nothing” binary response. If combinatorial codes are remembered by nerve cells, each combination of firing inputs received by a neuron with 100 dendrites could contain 100 binary digits. The possible number of unique combinations of inputs for a single neuron with just 100 incoming dendrites could be computed as 100 x 99 x 98 x 97 x .... x 2 x 1 possibilities.

That represents more than 1, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000 unique possible combinations! Multiply that number by 100 and divide by 8 to measure the number of bytes of possible memory. A single nerve cell with 100 dendrites can potentially remember that many bytes of singular combinations. Some nerve cells have upto 2,50,000 dendrites! Only the possible existence of such codes can explain the the breadth and sweep of human and animal intelligence.

What Is Intelligence - Intuition Finds Swift Answers
The olfactory matrix is reported to have 10,000 receptor cells. Such matrices can remember and recognize literally an infinity of combinations. This website suggests that, using a reverse inductive logic, intuition inhibits unrecognized combinatorial inputs to achieve swift recognition. The olfactory system inhibits those receptors which fail to recognize specific odors. Unrecognized categories are eliminated to reach answers. Since all nerve cells remember combinations and are continually active, the system achieves instant global evaluation of current information. The priority of the system is to locate swift answers. An animal cannot afford to remain undecided between chewing grass and quenching thirst. So many logical alternatives as well as emotionally unwelcome answers are eliminated. While intuition is not reliable, it is superior to reasoning chains for the recognition of overlapping patterns.

What Is Intelligence - Matrix Sequences Integrate
Nerve impulses travel through matrices in parallel pathways. Science has traced this progressive integration of information flow within the brain. Increasing meaning is derived as data flows from sensory perceptions to the final stages of evaluation. The primary areas of the cortex receive sensory information. This information proceeds to secondary areas, which coordinate binocular vision and stereophonic sound. This integrated information travels to the association regions, which enable the recognition of objects and events. Typically, the somesthetic association region recognizes objects through touch. When that region is damaged, a patient cannot recognize a pair of scissors, when touching it with his eyes closed. He can still feel the scissors. Other matrices recognize events through taste, sound, light and much more. The assembled recognition codes proceed to the prefrontal regions, enabling the brain to make final sense of the whole.

What Is Intelligence - Recognition Of Events
The association regions are known to have iterative matrices, which can recognize not merely objects, but events. Specific association regions of the brain are known to serve varying recognition functions. Special purpose matrices identify the relationships of objects, such as bigger, better, or above and below. Iterative matrices in the event association region recognize "run". Running, sitting down, or walking are simple events, recognizable from single words. Beginning from those primitive words, language expresses the vast knowledge of humanity in myriad combinations of words and sentences.

Language is not onecontinuousexpressionoftheidea. The words are separated for understanding. There are sentences, paragraphs, chapters and books. The mind recognizes these symbols in time dimensioned packets. Each sentence has an acceptable length and every sentence closes with a period. Those symbols represent ever longer sequences of pattern recognition steps. The human mind records and recognizes events against millions of sensory contexts. Understanding events is the essence of human intelligence.

What Is Intelligence - The Recognition Process
A sentence represents a dynamic pattern. Each unique combination of words have distinct contextual meanings. It contains data regarding objects, events and their static and dynamic relationships. It is recognized in sequential segments. Each word is separately recognized and, subsequently, the whole meaning of the sentence. Even the sequence is important. If it is changed, the meaning changes. “Jack killed Jacob.” is not the same as “Jacob killed Jack.” The subtleties of grammar change meaning too. Recognition of these combinatorial groups in the neural matrices occurs in finite time dimensioned sequential packets. The average sentence structure and length suggests a ten to fifteen seconds period for the absorption of an event by the mind.

What Is Intelligence - Infinite Differentiation
Pattern recognition permits infinitely differentiated steps. Combinations of events could also become complex event symbols, which represented sophisticated concepts such as war, or democracy. Current inputs are combined with memories from the past. They represent rising hierarchies of understanding. Such hierarchies contain millions of images. Event recognition can explain virtually any type of human intelligence from planning a strategy for war to comprehending the theory of relativity. Each is a hierarchy of patterns linked in unique ways. The mind can consciously “dig down” ever deeper into any sentence, recalling event memories, to understand the context of an expressed idea. Once this capability is assumed, thought processes appear less mysterious. Most cognitive processes revolve around the recognition of events, their recall from memory and the knowledge of their consequences.

What Is Intelligence - Recognition Of The Environment
Combinatorial codes differentiate between motor control signals. The earliest signals were triggered by touch. For the Hydra, a primitive branched tubular animal, a net of neurons between its outside and its internal digestive cavity reacted to the touch sensed by any part of its body. Touch caused the animal to vary its length, and use its tentacles to push food particles into its mouth. Strong contractions expelled indigestible material from the same orifice. Just touch alone enabled those animals to approach, accept or reject food and escape. Over millions of years, the nervous system developed sensitivity to many more patterns. Differentiation of smells enabled the early reptilian “nosebrains,” to avoid, or consume food. Fear, triggered by the amygdala, recognized the possible recurrence of past unpleasant experiences. Recognition sets off remembered strategies.

What Is Intelligence - Emotions Manage Motor Control
Fear signals from the amygdala trigger a defensive strategy. That strategy causes the body to increase adrenaline, produce shallow breathing, reduce blood pressure, increase heartbeat and inject acids into the stomach. Nature added more emotions to fear, including sadness, disgust, contempt, curiosity, surprise, love, pleasure, embarrassment, guilt, and shame. Each emotion initiates strategic drives - an inherited or acquired way of coping with problems in life. Anger generates a drive, which navigates aggressively. Laughter achieves relaxation of the stresses of life. Jealousy makes the system attack competitors. Love makes it caring and protective. Each emotion focuses the system to take actions, which follow its strategy, These emotions compete with each other for the control of the system. Pattern recognition of combinatorial codes distinguish between signals to trigger increasingly intelligent behavior.

This page was last updated on 02-Jan-2014



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For my peace of mind, I earmarked 20 minutes for meditation on the terrace. With my eyes closed, I sense my hands on the chair and feel the numbness in my feet.

I feel my breath flowing through my nose, my throat, my chest and my stomach. I can hear the chirping of birds, the phut phut of auto rickshaws, the occasional roar of a truck and the insistent hooting of horns.

When I open my eyes, I see a pale moon over two hundred thousand miles away. I see the nuclear fires, blazing for millions of years in the pale globe of the setting sun. A star millions of miles away in space.

I can see green shoots coming up on a tree, watch the dives and swoops of birds, the great circles of the hawks and flocks of birds flying home for the night.

Diffused light from the sun reflects off a parrot on the tree and enters my eye through a pinhole opening. I sense the bustling mood of the bird, even though it is smaller than a drop of water in my eyes.

All these things are seen and felt by me in a few brief minutes. In the distance, is the head of a man seeming to be no bigger than a pea. Yet, that head too sees and feels such things. Ten million people in this great city see and feel in ten million ways.

My mind wanders to a misty view of postwar London; an exciting glimpse of Disneyland. An awed view of Tiananmen Square. The looming Himalayan ranges. My mind takes me to distant galaxies.

It carries me into the heart of millions of invisible neurons, where electrical charges flash thousands of times a second powering my contemplation. I see the campaigns of Julius Caesar and Alexander. I feel the longings of Jehangir.

Already my mind has taken me to palaces, battlefields and even the stars. And yet, the 20 minutes hang heavily on me. If I lost everything, but can just see and feel, in just a few brief minutes, my mind can travel the world, or imagine the cosmos.

Life has already blessed me with over twenty million waking minutes. I have an infinity of time on my hands. Have I a right to expect more from life?

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