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Neuroscience: our relationship with intelligence

5 episodes
  • 1
    C Factor: a collective IQ
  • 2
    Vaccination against the “infodemic”
  • 3
    Addiction: a tax for social media like tobacco
  • 4
    Mind of an AI: from curiosity to autonomy
  • 5
    Vivid memories: looking deep into the pre-wired brain
Épisode 1/5
Pierre-Marie Lledo, CNRS Research director "Genes and cognition" at Institut Pasteur
On February 18th, 2021
4 mins reading time

Pierre-Marie Lledo
Pierre-Marie Lledo
CNRS Research director "Genes and cognition" at Institut Pasteur

Key takeaways

  • For Prof. Pierre-Marie Lledo, the idea that a group of people is less intelligent than the sum of its parts is incorrect.
  • As such, researchers have created a “C factor” which can be used to evaluate collective intelligence based on the individual IQ model.
  • This “C factor” takes into account more than just the IQ of an individual: it is enhanced by improving interactions and diversifying profiles within the group.
  • Prof. Lledo says that companies should promote collective intelligence and replace rigid hierarchical structures by a more flexible mode of operation.
Épisode 2/5
Patrice Georget, lecturer in psychosociology at the University School of Management IAE Caen
On February 18th, 2021
4 mins reading time

Patrice Georget
Patrice Georget
lecturer in psychosociology at the University School of Management IAE Caen

Key takeaways

  • To function optimally the brain simplifies information to process it more efficiently, often resorting to cognitive biases.
  • Cognitive biases, however, can also reinforce prejudice without hard evidence, create false memories and drive us towards sensationalism.
  • Fake news and conspiracy theories often rely on these cognitive biases to irrationally question values we are not used to defending because we take them for granted, such as freedom of speech.
  • But there are ways to strengthen one’s “immunity” to fake news, especially by learning how to identify the mechanisms of these cognitive biases, or by developing critical thinking.
Épisode 3/5
James Bowers, Chief editor at Polytechnique Insights
On February 18th, 2021
5 mins reading time

Samuel Vessière
Samuel Veissière
assistant professor of psychiatry at McGill University, Montreal

Key takeaways

  • According to Dr. Samuel Vessiere smartphone addiction is a by-product of their use to access social media. 
  • In recent years, numerous mental health issues such as anxiety and depression have been linked to smartphone use and continues to rise. 
  • Our desire to access social information, he says, comes from our natural psychological drivers, which push us to keep check of our social status. 
  • Whilst only 0.6% of the population are addicted to hard drugs, as much as 40% may be addicted to smartphones. Dr. Vessière therefore calls for stricter regulations or even taxation of social media, similar to those of other addictive substances like tobacco.
  • With his research team, they suggest a list of 10 ways to reduce screen time in the form of a digital detox as way to reduce negative effects.
Épisode 4/5
Agnès Vernet, Science journalist
On February 18th, 2021
4 mins reading time

Pierre-Yves Oudeyer
Pierre-Yves Oudeyer
Inria Research director and head of FLOWERS team at Inria/Ensta Paris (IP Paris)

Key takeaways

  • Research in artificial intelligence feeds off cognitive sciences, but now neurobiology is also making progress thanks to algorithmic models.
  • Curiosity, referred to as “intrinsic motivation” by psychologists, is a necessary trait for independent learning in children. 
  • For Dr. Pierre-Yves Oudeyer, this mechanism can also be applied to machines. 
  • As such, his research explores human cognition to improve artificial intelligence… and vice-versa.
Épisode 5/5
James Bowers, Chief editor at Polytechnique Insights
On February 18th, 2021
3 mins reading time

Emmanuel Beaurepaire
Emmanuel Beaurepaire
CNRS Research Director at the Laboratory of Optics and Biosciences of the École Polytechnique (IP Paris)*  

Key takeaways

  • Research shows that neurones in the hippocampus region of the brain are organised very early in life to provide a basis for memory.
  • Expert in multiphoton microscopy, Dr. Emmanuel Beaurepaire and his colleagues aim to study this process in a European-funded project, HOPE.
  • Researchers will first label neurones with colours in a technique developed in 2007 by a team at Harvard University, referred to as ‘brainbow’.
  • Then, they can use three-photon microscopy to study the neurones and their projections in the hippocampus as they develop over the lifetime of a mouse.

Contributors

Pierre-Marie Lledo
Pierre-Marie Lledo
CNRS Research director "Genes and cognition" at Institut Pasteur

Pierre-Marie Lledo’s research focuses on the adaptation and regeneration of neurons in the brain, and their interactions with the immune system. He is Research director at the CNRS, head of the Genes and Cognition laboratory, and director of the Perception and Memory unit and of Plasticity and Development of the Nervous System at the Pasteur Institute.

Patrice Georget
Patrice Georget
lecturer in psychosociology at the University School of Management IAE Caen

Patrice Georget is a lecturer and researcher in psycho-sociology at the IAE Caen University school of management, which he directed from 2015 to 2020. He has been an industry consultant in diversity management and risk prevention. He has been an expert for the APM (Association Progrès du Management) since 2009 and a GERME speaker.

James Bowers
James Bowers
Chief editor at Polytechnique Insights

James Bowers has a PhD in molecular biology from the Museum National d’Histoire Naturelle and an MSc in Science Media Production from Imperial College London. He has six years of experience creating engaging scientific media in digital, TV and other outlets in the UK and France. Most recently, James worked as a science communication consultant and trainer for a French agency, Agent Majeur, for three years where he co-authored the book, Sell Your Research: Public Speaking for Scientists published by Springer.

Agnès Vernet
Agnès Vernet
Science journalist

After her initial studies in molecular biology, Agnès Vernet trained as a science journalist at ESJ-Lille. For the past 14 years, she has been writing for various media, scientific magazines, professional titles and general press, in France and Switzerland. Since 1st February 2021, she is the elected President of the French association of science journalists (AJSPI).