Eat Fruit to Judge Intelligence

Meat eaters are really good at denying the intelligence of other living beings according to a new study. When people were told to eat fruit their assessment of an animal’s intelligence was higher, with meat eating people they denied that the animal could be intelligent.

In a study that excluded vegetarians, psychologist Brock Bastian of the University of Queensland in Australia and his colleagues first asked par­ticipants to commit to eating either meat slices or apple wedges. Before eating, everyone wrote an essay describing the full life cycle of a butchered animal and then rated the mental faculties of a cow or a sheep. Participants who knew that they would have to eat meat later in the study made much more conservative assessments of the animal mind, on average, denying that it could think and feel enough to suffer. The study was published last October in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.

“People engage in the denial of mind in animals to allow them to engage in the behavior of eating animals with less negative effect,” Bastian says. The re­searchers argue that although humans have the ability to imagine themselves in someone else’s shoes—or hooves—doing so is not always helpful. People living in carnivorous cultures may have developed this strategy of denial to better align their morals with their traditions so they may continue to consume meat without being consumed by guilt.

Read some more here.

It’s Possible to Increase Your IQ

Yes, we’ve seen that you can increase your IQ before but isn’t it always a nice reminder that it’s possible? I think so!

Yet another study has been released that has demonstrable ways that anybody can increase their IQ. I think it’s also worth noting that IQ has a measurement is not the best way for people to compare their true smarts.

The take-home points from this research? This study is relevant because they discovered:

1. Fluid intelligence is trainable.

2. The training and subsequent gains are dose-dependent—meaning, the more you train, the more you gain.

3. Anyone can increase their cognitive ability, no matter what your starting point is.

4. The effect can be gained by training on tasks that don’t resemble the test questions.

Read more at Scientific American.

Vegetarians are Smart

Today’s good news is about me being smart because I’m vegetarian, OK, that’s a stretch, but the higher your IQ the greater the chances are that your vegetarian. Smart people eat well and being vegetarian is a healthy diet for you and the planet.

British researchers have found that children’s IQ predicts their likelihood of becoming vegetarians as young adults — lowering their risk for cardiovascular disease in the process. The finding could explain the link between smarts and better health, the investigators say.

“Brighter people tend to have healthier dietary habits,” concluded lead author Catharine Gale, a senior research fellow at the MRC Epidemiology Resource Centre of the University of Southampton and Southampton General Hospital.

Recent studies suggest that vegetarianism may be associated with lower cholesterol, reduced risk of obesity and heart disease. This might explain why children with high IQs tend to have a lower risk of heart disease in later life.

Read more at Now Public.

You Can Improve Your IQ

Just in case you’re wondering, yes you can improve your intelligence!

It used to be believed that people had a level of general intelligence with which they were born that was unaffected by environment and stayed the same, more or less, throughout life. But now it’s known that environmental influences are large enough to have considerable effects on intelligence, perhaps even during your own lifetime.

A key contribution to this subject comes from James Flynn, a moral philosopher who has turned to social science and statistical analysis to explore his ideas about humane ideals. Flynn’s work usually pops up in the news in the context of race issues, especially public debates about the causes of racial differences in performance on intelligence tests. We won’t spend time on the topic of race, but the psychologist Dick Nisbett has written an excellent article on the subject.

Flynn first noted that standardized intelligence quotient (I.Q.) scores were rising by three points per decade in many countries, and even faster in some countries like the Netherlands and Israel. For instance, in verbal and performance I.Q., an average Dutch 14-year-old in 1982 scored 20 points higher than the average person of the same age in his parents’ generation in 1952. These I.Q. increases over a single generation suggest that the environmental conditions for developing brains have become more favorable in some way.

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