Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Dr. Anna Dornhaus - Evolution of Mind and Brain

Interesting lecture from Dr. Anna Dornhaus at the University of Arizona on the evolution of brains and the purpose of mind. She is not a psychologist, so her perspective is essentially on why, from a biological standpoint, we would evolve such an energy consuming brain that often far exceeds its usefulness as a tool for survival.

Evolution of Mind and Brain

Dr. Anna Dornhaus is Assistant Professor, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Arizona. Her lecture was given on March 9, 2010, as part of the College of Science Mind and Brain Lecture Series.http://cos.arizona.edu/mind/

What does anybody need a brain for? Brains are energetically expensive to make and to use, and susceptible to making mistakes. Accordingly, not learning, i.e. sticking to an innate or random strategy, is often the best thing to do. Still, humans and other animals display sophisticated learning and cognition. Recent research shows that each animal has specific learning abilities and lacks others according to its environment and evolutionary history. Understanding what different brains are used for can help us understand why they evolved.

No comments: