Another case where size doesn’t matter

by Jon Lebkowsky

I’ve often wondered whether insects are more intelligent than we think. A Science Daily article suggests that “tiny insects could be as intelligent as much bigger animals, despite only having a brain the size of a pinhead.” The article goes on to say that brain size is not predictive of intelligent behavior, that “bigger animals may need bigger brains simply because there is more to control.” Lars Chittka, Professor of Sensory and Behavioural Ecology at Queen Mary’s Research Centre for Psychology, says “In bigger brains we often don’t find more complexity, just an endless repetition of the same neural circuits over and over. This might add detail to remembered images or sounds, but not add any degree of complexity. To use a computer analogy, bigger brains might in many cases be bigger hard drives, not necessarily better processors.”

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