Internal Dialogue

OK, so this may be the current school of thought.  I don’t know.  I try not to study the conclusions of science, as it “front loads” me to a certain train of thought, inhibiting my ability for free and original thought.  Regardless, this is what my weekly drive back and forth to Dallas has given me the time to think about:

I have always considered that dogs are of a high level of intelligence.  You often hear it stated relative to humans, but I think that is wrong.  You cannot say a dog is “as smart as a 7 year old”, because they aren’t.  There isn’t a comparison, really.

That isn’t to say that dogs are stupid.  Just that you cannot measure their intelligence on a scale that would be used to measure a human.  It is a different type of mindset, and a different type of intelligence.

I am unsure if you are familiar with “Multiple Intelligences”, but if not:

The theory of multiple intelligences was developed in 1983 by Dr. Howard Gardner, professor of education at Harvard University. It suggests that the traditional notion of intelligence, based on I.Q. testing, is far too limited. Instead, Dr. Gardner proposes eight different intelligences to account for a broader range of human potential in children and adults. These intelligences are:

* Linguistic intelligence (“word smart”)
* Logical-mathematical intelligence (“number/reasoning smart”)
* Spatial intelligence (“picture smart”)
* Bodily-Kinesthetic intelligence (“body smart”)
* Musical intelligence (“music smart”)
* Interpersonal intelligence (“people smart”)
* Intrapersonal intelligence (“self smart”)
* Naturalist intelligence (“nature smart”)

This is a brilliant outlook, honestly.  And it is a far, far superior way to classify human intelligence (although it is still not perfect).  Following this concept, we can see that “IQ” is just an arbitrary measurement of knowledge relating to a mixture of concrete (useful) and abstract (less useful) information and problem solving skills.  If you are not versed in that information, or the problems being presented, you will fare poorly on such a test.  As well, tests are often ambiguous in the way they are worded, and misunderstandings are frequent.

In this vein, I declare that dogs are highly intelligent beings.  Just not in the way we would normally classify.  But their ability to process the massive inputs of sensory data related to smell and hearing (standing out among their other 3 normal senses), combined with the increased snesory input from organs such as whiskers, and organs on their paws, increases the workload on a brain that is notably smaller than ours.

I think the key difference here is that dogs are not prone to abstract thought.  They are very concrete.  The difference being, concrete thought is “here and now”, whereas abstract thought involves conceptualizing the future and making plans around it.  This is not something a dog is prone to, although you will  see it on occasion.

A good example of this is that most dogs (not all) are very poor at identifying human intent while pointing.  If you point at something, they tend to just look at the end of your finger.  Some hunting breeds, when in rural areas, may develop such abstract thinking skills (as a by product of rural, hunting life).

I say all of that to get to my point:  i have been pondering this difference in thinking, trying to understand a dogs mind more.  Trying to figure out how to think like a dog, if you will  I think it would be a great exercise in probing my own consciousness.

Today it occured to me what the difference is:  the internal dialogue.

All animals have communication.  One form or another, they communicate with each other.  However, in most animals it is a mix of noise meant to convey a concept, or a scent conveying some information, or maybe a flashy visual cue.  The point is, the communication does not provide for deeper concepts.  Everything is kind of precanned, with maybe only a couple thousand different expressions possible.

Language, however, allows intricate expression of varied concepts.  You don’t have to know a whole lot to start stringing words together.

This is key in how humans thinking differs from other animals.  Maybe not all other animals, as dolphins seem to have a well developed language too.  But this language skill gives us an ability to take our penchant for abstract thought and apply a linear framework to it.

When you think, you think by “talking” to yourself with an internal dialogue.  Maybe its your voice, maybe its not even a voice.  Some people think in words that are spelled out visually.  Like, instead of listening to an internal narrator, they are reading an internal ticker tape.

Regardless, this is the key difference.  This internal dialogue allows a concentration on a linear thought process.  Of course, tangential thought has some benefits.  But it just does not allow you to think and plan, nor to delve deep topics that require logic.

And logic, truly, is the creme de la creme of linear thought.  If you have the ability to think in a linear manner, you have the ability to apply logic to problems, and find solutions.

This is also the key “thought module” that allows for mathmatical skill.  And the scientific method.

One Response to “Internal Dialogue”

  1. Panama corporation Says:

    However brain size does not correlate with intelligence or personality. .In the nineteenth century whether men and women had equal intelligence was seen by many as a prerequisite for the granting of .

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