Monday, April 7, 2008

The sad state of intelligence research

I just spent an hour looking for PhD advisors. I'm planning to get my PhD in neuroscience and research the neurogenetics of intelligence.

Every, and I mean EVERY intelligence researcher I've seen is a psychologist. This is incredibly sad - because it means that none of them are looking at intelligence from a strictly neuroscientific point of view. Psychology flows from neuroscience, and intelligence is determined partially by genetics, so one would think people would be all over the genetic aspects of intelligence.

NOT SO. I can name a couple of genes and not much more that influence intelligence:

Human neuropsin
and a small amount of genes on chromosome 4

There are no comprehensive, published models of how these things work? Psychologists can research all this stuff to hell, but until we neuroscientists get cracking on researching the neurogenetics of intelligence, we're all going to be dumber about being smart.

Even the neuroscientists I know of who are researching this are only focusing on systems research - John Duncan at Cambridge (who I am going to contact as a possible PhD advisor) is the only one I know of who's focusing specifically on intelligence. (Let's see if I get in Cambridge - foreign students need a 3.5 to even be considered. My GPA is currently not quite that high, and that worries me a lot)

Robert Plomin is another possible PhD advisor at King's College London (I suspect I am going to England for grad school) who discovered IGF2R's role in intelligence. Of course, right now he's working on a twin study and that just doesn't make me happy.

Are people perhaps AFRAID of the controversial issues behind intelligence research? I say get some cojones and start researching - I don't care if we get epithets slung at us by the masses who don't know any better!

Controversy is an engineer of progress.

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Genius said...

yes I think people are scared - it's a bit pathetic for society really.
I expect that when Asian countries become more influential in these sorts of fields much more progress will be made because they won't need to fear backlash so much at a cultural level.

Ben said...

“A study on the correlation between IL1RAPL1 and human cognitive ability,”