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On the Nature of Intelligence: The Relevance of Statistical Mechanics

Snyder, Douglas M. (1994) On the Nature of Intelligence: The Relevance of Statistical Mechanics. [Preprint]

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Abstract

A conundrum that results from the normal distribution of intelligence is explored. The conundrum concerns the chief characteristic of intelligence, the ability to find order in the world (or to know the world) on the one hand, and the random processes that are the foundation of the normal distribution on the other. Statistical mechanics is explored to help in understanding the relation between order and randomness in intelligence. In statistical mechanics, ordered phenomena, like temperature or chemical potential, can be derived from random processes, and empirical data indicate that such a relationship between ordered phenomena and random processes must exist as regards intellect. The apparent incongruity in having both order and randomness characterize intelligence is found to be a feature that allows for intelligence to be known without recourse to underpinnings that are independent of the knowing individual. The contrast of ordered processes and random processes indicates that probabilistic knowledge of the world, stemming from the latter processes, is a basis for knowing the world in a fundamental manner, whether the concern is the physical world or mind. It is likely that physiological concomitants involved in the development, and perhaps current operation, of intellect also demonstrate the same relationship between ordered and random phenomena found on a psychological level. On a microscopic level, it is expected that random neurophysiological processes would give rise to ordered patterns of neurophysiological activity on a macroscopic level.

Item Type:Preprint
Keywords:intelligence, intellect, normal distribution, binomialdistribution, Galton, intelligence tests, Wechsler AdultIntelligence Scale, statistical mechanics, thermodynamics, probability, random processes, ordered processes, Boltzmann, Gibbs, temperature, chemical potential, neurophysiology
Subjects:Psychology > Cognitive Psychology
Neuroscience > Neurophysiology
ID Code:819
Deposited By:Snyder, Douglas
Deposited On:05 Aug 1999
Last Modified:11 Mar 2011 08:54

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