It Shrinks?

As we enter a new year, it is comforting to know that we all are just a little bit dumber than we were last year.

According to an article in Discover Magazine, human brains have shrunk approximately 10% since Cro-Magnon man walked the earth 20,000 years ago. Although there is no certain relationship between brain size and intelligence, this still seems to be rather alarming and goes against what we all grew up believing. After all, don’t all those aliens have small bodies and big heads?

There are, of course, theories to explain this shrinkage.

One theory is that our brains have become more efficient and hence can do the same or better job with less mass. That’s the theory I’d like to believe.

Another thoery, described quite well in this clip from the movie Idiocracy, is that intelligence is no longer an asset for survival and procreation, and may even be a liability. That’s the theory I fear is true whenever I channel surf.

An interesting observation made by one anthropologist is that a smaller brain seems to be a way of naturally selecting against aggression and for tolerance and collaboration. Whereas early man had to be self-reliant and independent and aggreesive against his fellow man to survive, modern man benefits from the community which requires him to be tolerant and to collaborate.

By that reasoning, social media and social networking, which require a large amount of collaboration, are just the next stage in the evolution of the species.

So, as we start 2011, I’d like to propose a toast to us small-minded folks in social media. Smaller is better 🙂

harry the ASIC guy

One Response to “It Shrinks?”

  1. […] Harry Gries cites research showing that we’re all getting dumber. That means it may take more of us to solve problems of increasing complexity. This adds new meaning to the concept of “dumbing down.” […]

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