Re: Sensory modalities and the possibility of semi-arbitrary additions

From: Michael Vassar (
Date: Thu Nov 03 2005 - 11:14:39 MST

It seems likely that genetic structure strongly biases the neocortex towards
certain types of modality. Cachalots have much more neocortex than we do,
but don't do a lot of complex social organization. Female Elephants have
chimp-level encephalization quotients, complex social groups of size similar
to those of hunter gatherers, fine manipulators, tool use, long lives, and
human sized or larger neocortexes, but in the million years or so of their
existance (20 million if Mastadons count) they have not developed any
culture comparable to ours and specifically have not domesticated other
animals or adapted to a range of climates to spread globally. They are also
ineffective in defending themselves against human hunter-gatherers.

What is known of savants also suggests the presence of non-standard
cognitive strong attractors. Savants typically excell in one or a few of a
standard set of skills. Kim Peek appears to provide confirmation of the
viability of high-speed textual input using the visual cortex. I suspect
that most people read faster than the effective bandwidth for auditory
input, hence the important of suppressing subvocalization to maximizing
reading speed.

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