Social intelligence and the brain in the spotted hyena
Sakai, Sharleen T. Department of Psychology and Neuroscience Program, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan.
- Social intelligence in the spotted hyena
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- Frontal cortex in males versus females
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It has long been known that the capacity for thought, innovation, and problem solving increases as brain size increases. Harry J. Jerison first proposed the principle of proper mass, that is, the idea that brain regions increase proportionately in size relative to the capacity for certain behaviors. For example, the relative volume of the brain devoted to the representation of the forelimb is greater in the raccoon, an animal noted for the manipulative capabilities of its forepaw, than in the dog, a species that lacks these skills. The principle of proper mass also applies to brain areas involved in cognitive skills. One explanation for the evolution of larger brains is that the ability to respond flexibly to social information requires enhanced neural processing. This increased neural requirement led to increased brain size and increased cognition.
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