Cognition and intelligence


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Elizabeth I of England (c1588), artist unknown. One of three known as the Armada portraits and on display in Woburn Abbey. Courtesy Wikipedia

Essay/
Cognition and intelligence
How to be a genius

I travelled the world and trawled the archive to unearth the hidden lessons from history’s most brilliant people

Craig Wright

The French aviation pioneers Antoine de Saint-Exupéry and Henri Guillaumet. Photo by Roger-Violett/Topfoto

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Cognition and intelligence
On the same wavelength

The urge to align our minds and emotions with those we care for, whether they are near or far, makes our species unique

Hayden Kee

Lambari, Brazil, August 2010. Photo by Steve McCurry/Magnum

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Cognition and intelligence
The science of wisdom

Psychological science can now measure and nurture wisdom, superseding the speculations of philosophy and religion

Igor Grossmann

Photo by Harry Gruyaert/Magnum

Essay/
Philosophy of mind
The value of uncertainty

In fiction, it grips us. In life, it can unravel us. How can brains hooked on certainty put its opposite to good use?

Mark Miller, Kathryn Nave, George Deane & Andy Clark

Taylor Hackford and Isabella Rossellini get to the point. Photo by Eve Arnold/Magnum

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Philosophy of language
Thoughts into words

Here’s the paradox of articulation: are you excavating existing ideas, or do your thoughts come into being as you speak?

Eli Alshanetsky

Photo by George Georgiou / Panos Pictures

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Illness and disease
On Matthew’s mind

An operation to remove a brain cyst changed Matthew’s identity. Who will he become after the next round of surgery?

Ben Platts-Mills

Photo by Werner Bischof/Magnum Photos

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Self-improvement
Beware of lateral thinking

De Bono’s popular theory is textbook pseudoscience: unsound, untested and derivative of real (unacknowledged) research

Antonio Melechi

From Le Petit Journal, 18 February 1912. Photo by Getty

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Ethics
The trolley problem problem

Are thoughts experiments experiments at all? Or something else? And do they help us think clearly about ethics or not?

James Wilson

Photo by Debbie Lee Harrison/Getty

Essay/
Cognition and intelligence
It’s hard to fool a nose

Theories of perception are heavily tilted to the visual: we have much to learn from our surprisingly acute sense of smell

Ann-Sophie Barwich

Why did the woman cross the road? Photo by Harry Gruyaert/Magnum

Essay/
Cognition and intelligence
You are the world

Are your decisions made by your brain, or via the experience of the world relative to your body? A dialogue on consciousness

Tim Parks & Riccardo Manzotti

At the World Chess Championships in London, 2013. Photo by Andrew Testa/Panos

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Cognition and intelligence
Concentrate!

The challenge of chess – learning how to hold complexity in mind and still make good decisions – is also the challenge of life

Jonathan Rowson

Photo by Elliott Erwitt/Magnum

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Animals and humans
Canine exceptionalism

Trainers working with dogs every day have documented extraordinary talents and skills. Will science ever catch up?

Jessica Hekman

Speakers corner, London, 1978. Photo by Rudolf Dietrich/ullstein bild/Getty

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Knowledge
Mistaken

Assuming that another person’s opinions are immune from criticism is not a marker of respect. It is, in fact, dehumanising

Daniel Ward

Photo by Jorge Sanz/SOPA Images/LightRocket Getty

Essay/
Animals and humans
What do mirror tests test?

Chimps, dolphins and elephants pass, dogs and cats don’t. Is the mirror test a reliable mark of self-awareness?

Virginia Morell

Photo by Vincent J Musi/National Geographic

Essay/
Animals and humans
The pointing ape

How a chimpanzee named Clint trained a psychologist to question human exceptionalism and reconsider the intelligence of apes

David Leavens