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Talk by Prof. Dr. Dr. Onur Güntürkün

Ruhr-University Bochum, Fakultät für Psychologie, AE Biopsychologie

01 Dec 2017 14:00
01 Dec 2017
Central Library, Building 04.7U. Room 201, Lecture Hall. Research Centre Juelich.

Cognition without Cortex:
The Parallel Evolution of Cognition in Birds and Mammals

Is it possible that the ability for higher cognition arose several times in parallel during evolution? Until very recently, neuroscientists thought that the neocortex is a prerequisite for complex cognition. All non-mammalian animals have no neocortex and should not be able to generate intelligent behavior. We now know that this view is wrong. Studies of the last two decades revealed that especially corvids and parrots are cognitively on par with apes. Indeed, there is no cognitive ability demonstrated in chimps (brain weight 400g) that corvids (brain weight 12g) can’t also achieve. How is it possible that so small brains without neocortex can generate so sophisticated cognition? My talk is about these questions and about discoveries that might give first answers.