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Bigger?

Not always better - Many researchers think that God resides in our brains, which is why neuroscience is often at the forefront of spirituality. And it turns out that bigger isn't better (in brain size, anyway). If you find it hard to play video games, this could be due to the size of certain PARTS of your brain. And babies are getting smaller: Does this mean that human brains will be shrinking in the future as well? (NOTE: Subscribers can still listen to the 2009 Dreamland show with Dr. John Turner).

A bigger brain doesn't necessarily make you smarter. Tiny insects (and birds, despite the appellation "bird brain") can be much more intelligent than larger creatures with bigger brains.

So what are these big brains for? Scientists have discovered that larger animals need them because they have more muscles to control. But that doesn't make them better thinkers, although some large animals, such as elephants, are very smart. LiveScience.com quotes researcher Lars Chittka as saying, "To use a computer analogy, bigger brains might in many cases be bigger hard drives, not necessarily better processors."

Researchers have discovered they can predict how well you'll perform on a video game by measuring certain sections of your brain. While bigger brains indicate smarter people, in the HUMAN species, anyway, there are different parts in every person's brain that can be disproportionately smaller or larger, and this may explain some differences in our intellectual abilities. To succeed at video games, you need to be able to do a number of different things at once.

BBC News quotes researcher Arthur Kramer as saying, "Think of it like driving a car, as well as looking at the road, you're tampering with your GPS, and talking to your passengers."

Finally, babies born in the United States are getting smaller, even among mothers who wouldn't be considered candidates for low birth weight infants: women who are white, well-educated, married, non-smokers, and who received early prenatal care and delivered vaginally with no complications. Scientists don't know why this is: The new data reverses an earlier trend, which showed that infants were getting heavier. It's not good news: Small infants face short-term complications, such as increased likelihood of requiring intensive care after birth and higher risk of death, as well as an increased risk for chronic diseases in adulthood.

To learn more, click here, here and here.

Art credit: Dreamstime.com

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