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General intelligence in another primate: individual differences across cognitive task performance in a New World monkey (Saguinus oedipus).

Banerjee K, Chabris CF, Johnson VE, Lee JJ, Tsao F, Hauser MD - PLoS ONE (2009)

Bottom Line: At present, little is known about the evolution of g, in part because most comparative studies focus on rodents or on differences across higher-level taxa.Using a Bayesian latent variable model, we show that the pattern of correlations among tasks is consistent with the existence of a general factor accounting for a small but significant proportion of the variance in each task (the lower bounds of 95% Bayesian credibility intervals for correlations between g and task performance all exceed 0.12).Individual differences in cognitive abilities within at least one other primate species can be characterized by a general intelligence factor, supporting the hypothesis that important aspects of human cognitive function most likely evolved from ancient neural substrates.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychology, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States of America. kbanerg@wjh.harvard.edu

ABSTRACT

Background: Individual differences in human cognitive abilities show consistently positive correlations across diverse domains, providing the basis for the trait of "general intelligence" (g). At present, little is known about the evolution of g, in part because most comparative studies focus on rodents or on differences across higher-level taxa. What is needed, therefore, are experiments targeting nonhuman primates, focusing on individual differences within a single species, using a broad battery of tasks. To this end, we administered a large battery of tasks, representing a broad range of cognitive domains, to a population of captive cotton-top tamarin monkeys (Saguinus oedipus).

Methodology and results: Using a Bayesian latent variable model, we show that the pattern of correlations among tasks is consistent with the existence of a general factor accounting for a small but significant proportion of the variance in each task (the lower bounds of 95% Bayesian credibility intervals for correlations between g and task performance all exceed 0.12).

Conclusion: Individual differences in cognitive abilities within at least one other primate species can be characterized by a general intelligence factor, supporting the hypothesis that important aspects of human cognitive function most likely evolved from ancient neural substrates.

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Posterior histograms of Var(θ)/[(1/γj) + Var(θ)].The proportion of variance in the latent variable underlying the jth task attributable to the general factor. Each panel displays the marginal posterior histogram of this proportion. The square root of the proportion is called the “loading” of the task on the general factor—the correlation between the task and the general factor.
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pone-0005883-g001: Posterior histograms of Var(θ)/[(1/γj) + Var(θ)].The proportion of variance in the latent variable underlying the jth task attributable to the general factor. Each panel displays the marginal posterior histogram of this proportion. The square root of the proportion is called the “loading” of the task on the general factor—the correlation between the task and the general factor.

Mentions: We next computed the marginal posterior distribution of the proportion of latent variance underlying each task attributable to the general factor. The square root of this proportion gives the “g-loading” of the task, which can be interpreted as the correlation between performance on the task and the general factor. Several features are evident from the posterior histograms of the proportions of the task variances attributable to the general factor (Figure 1). Critically, the modal estimate of every task's loading on the general factor is always positive (Table 1). This finding is of course consistent with the presence of a genuine general factor. However, although the 95% credibility intervals always exclude zero, the loadings are typically quite small, especially relative to what is usually observed in human cognitive test batteries [2], [6].


General intelligence in another primate: individual differences across cognitive task performance in a New World monkey (Saguinus oedipus).

Banerjee K, Chabris CF, Johnson VE, Lee JJ, Tsao F, Hauser MD - PLoS ONE (2009)

Posterior histograms of Var(θ)/[(1/γj) + Var(θ)].The proportion of variance in the latent variable underlying the jth task attributable to the general factor. Each panel displays the marginal posterior histogram of this proportion. The square root of the proportion is called the “loading” of the task on the general factor—the correlation between the task and the general factor.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC2690653&req=5

pone-0005883-g001: Posterior histograms of Var(θ)/[(1/γj) + Var(θ)].The proportion of variance in the latent variable underlying the jth task attributable to the general factor. Each panel displays the marginal posterior histogram of this proportion. The square root of the proportion is called the “loading” of the task on the general factor—the correlation between the task and the general factor.
Mentions: We next computed the marginal posterior distribution of the proportion of latent variance underlying each task attributable to the general factor. The square root of this proportion gives the “g-loading” of the task, which can be interpreted as the correlation between performance on the task and the general factor. Several features are evident from the posterior histograms of the proportions of the task variances attributable to the general factor (Figure 1). Critically, the modal estimate of every task's loading on the general factor is always positive (Table 1). This finding is of course consistent with the presence of a genuine general factor. However, although the 95% credibility intervals always exclude zero, the loadings are typically quite small, especially relative to what is usually observed in human cognitive test batteries [2], [6].

Bottom Line: At present, little is known about the evolution of g, in part because most comparative studies focus on rodents or on differences across higher-level taxa.Using a Bayesian latent variable model, we show that the pattern of correlations among tasks is consistent with the existence of a general factor accounting for a small but significant proportion of the variance in each task (the lower bounds of 95% Bayesian credibility intervals for correlations between g and task performance all exceed 0.12).Individual differences in cognitive abilities within at least one other primate species can be characterized by a general intelligence factor, supporting the hypothesis that important aspects of human cognitive function most likely evolved from ancient neural substrates.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychology, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States of America. kbanerg@wjh.harvard.edu

ABSTRACT

Background: Individual differences in human cognitive abilities show consistently positive correlations across diverse domains, providing the basis for the trait of "general intelligence" (g). At present, little is known about the evolution of g, in part because most comparative studies focus on rodents or on differences across higher-level taxa. What is needed, therefore, are experiments targeting nonhuman primates, focusing on individual differences within a single species, using a broad battery of tasks. To this end, we administered a large battery of tasks, representing a broad range of cognitive domains, to a population of captive cotton-top tamarin monkeys (Saguinus oedipus).

Methodology and results: Using a Bayesian latent variable model, we show that the pattern of correlations among tasks is consistent with the existence of a general factor accounting for a small but significant proportion of the variance in each task (the lower bounds of 95% Bayesian credibility intervals for correlations between g and task performance all exceed 0.12).

Conclusion: Individual differences in cognitive abilities within at least one other primate species can be characterized by a general intelligence factor, supporting the hypothesis that important aspects of human cognitive function most likely evolved from ancient neural substrates.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus