What makes human intelligence special?

In this news, we discuss the What makes human intelligence special?.

Neuroscientists have published a study that breaks with the past 50 years of neuroscience opinion, claiming that the way we store memories is key to making human intelligence superior to that of animals.

It has already been thought and widely published that it is the “ separation of patterns ” in the hippocampus, an area of ​​the brain essential for memory, that allows memories to be stored by separate groups of neurons, so that the memories do not mix.

Professor Rodrigo Quian Quiroga, Director of Neuroscience Systems at the University of Leicester, explains: “Contrary to what everyone expects, when recording the activity of individual neurons, we have found that it alternative separation from model to model storing our memories.

“Pattern separation is a basic principle of neural coding that prevents memory interference in the hippocampus. Its existence is supported by many theoretical, computer and experimental discoveries in different animal species, but these findings have never been directly replicated in humans.

“Previous human studies have been primarily obtained using imaginative functional magnetic resources (fMRI), which does not record the activity of individual neurons. Shockingly, when we directly recorded the activity of individual neurons, we found something completely different from what has been described in other animals. It just might be the cornerstone of human intelligence.

The study, “ No Pattern Separation in the Human Hippocampus, ” argues that the lack of pattern separation in memory encoding is a key difference from other species, which has profound implications which could explain cognitive abilities only developed in humans, such as our power of generalization and creative thought.

Quiroga believes that we should move beyond behavioral comparisons between humans and animals and seek more mechanistic information, by asking what in our brains gives rise to the vast and unique repertoire of human cognitive functions.

Quiroga argues that the size of the brain or the number of neurons cannot only explain the difference, because there is, for example, a comparable number and type of neurons in the chimpanzee and the human brain, and both species have more or minus the same anatomical structures. Therefore, our neurons, or at least some of them, have to do something completely different, and such a difference is given by the way they store our memories.

News Highlights:

What makes human intelligence special?

The way the brain stores memories can make us intelligent species

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