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The Intelligent Brain

Plunge into a myriad of thought-provoking issues with a pioneer professor and researcher in psychology to better understand what intelligence is and how it works.
The Intelligent Brain is rated 4.7 out of 5 by 51.
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Rated 5 out of 5 by from See what we can learn from brain imaging This is an excellent course, taught by a lifelong researcher who is dedicated to his subject. He presents well, often from his own work, and goes where few others would dare -- to review data on the intelligence of different groups, and how hard it is to change IQ. I believe what he says, and I learned from this course. Before listening to this course, I listened to Jeannette Norden's and Sam Wang's courses on the brain and an epigenetics course by Mykura, all of which were excellent and relevant to this subject. So Dr Haier had some tough competition, but he did well. However, this course is now ten years old, and a field like this moves very fast; it's time for an update please! Also one of the early lectures had a glitch in it so I was not able to get beyond the first few minutes. I didn't want to miss any of this content.
Date published: 2024-01-13
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Interesting What is intelligence, really? Does it accurately reflect how smart a person is? And what does that mean, anyway? Does intelligence change over a person’s lifetime? Can you influence your intelligence? Can you influence your child’s intelligence? What does an Intelligence Quotient (IQ Test) measure and what can (or should) we do with this measurement? Does intelligence differ by sex? This course addresses a series of very interesting topics. The Great Courses (TGC) has a number of courses related to the brain and cognition (e.g., The Learning Brain, Memory and the Human Lifespan, etc.). Although the entire collection is good, this is one of the best courses in that collection. Dr. Haier is a good lecturer although not elite by The Great Courses (TGC) standards. He speaks calmly and slowly but he packs a lot of interesting information into his lectures. His tone is almost friendly but the content is too deep to be considered “conversational.” He states his opinions on controversial items but he always respectfully explains opposing views as well. The course guide is written in bullet format (as opposed to paragraph or outline format). There are many useful graphics in the course guide. The course guide devotes about 7 pages per lecture, which is probably above average by TGC standards. There is a bibliography but it lacks any notes saying what information the reference can provide the reader. I used the video version. I recommend paying close attention to the video as there are frequent very useful graphics. The course was published in 2013.
Date published: 2023-04-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Enjoy the Course Dr Haier is able to present very complex information in a format that average learners can handle. He dares to present scientific findings even when we collide with the publics desired results. He lays out his hand faceup, so you know where he stands on the ideas. I my estimation he gives a fair hearing to opinions with which he disagrees.
Date published: 2022-12-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Interesting and well presented Dr. Haier presents complex information about intelligence in a very clear, diplomatic and enthusiastic manner. I enjoyed these lectures and learned a lot about how intelligence and brain function are measured and the future direction of brain research.
Date published: 2022-09-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Highly Intelligent Course on Intelligence This course had been sitting in my Audible-library for about a year, finally got to it. (But decided to review it on Wondrium as I just re-discovered this now very-well designed and functional platform). This course is a pure pleasure to listen to due to primarily these factors: # evidence-based, Dr. Haier goes where the facts take him, which is a superior way of dealing with the world, with that we can actually improve what's not working well currently, instead of engaging in wishful thinking # well-structured. The whole course, but also each lecture, each example is usually well-structured when it comes to argumentation and explanations, which makes it very easy to comprehend. # broad and deep, historical and future-looking # likable person, shouldn't matter, but it does, Dr. Haier is a very likable person Given the importance of being able to make good-decisions for oneself, and the consequences for our own life: personal finance, health, relationships and so on, rational reasoning-ability (which is what we're really interested in here, not some narrow savant ability) is probably the most important topic for society today. Yet, we prefer to sweep it under the carpet, or worse, deny scientific evidence and start from there. This goes for education, resource-allocation. It'll hurt the ones on the lower spectrum the most, by those that are trying to help them most, and it's just so dumb. Therefore, if you're involved in policy-decisions, education in one way or another, a parent - or just a human living in a modern society, this is a MUST LISTEN. Highly recommended.
Date published: 2022-08-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Clear explanation of intelligence research The professor gave a wide ranging and thoroughly enjoyable series of lectures on the concepts of intelligence - the Genetic, Environmental and Epigenetic interactions.
Date published: 2022-08-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Another fact base course. More course material needed by Pro Haier, honest, intelligent and there is a followup course needed. Well done Pro.
Date published: 2021-12-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Outstanding I thought this was a great course. Dr. Haier is one of the best presenters yet. Since this course is eight years old would like to see an updated course.
Date published: 2021-08-26
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No feature of the mind is as important, controversial, and mysterious as intelligence. It is the epitome of brain function, and it has a powerful influence on success in life. And thanks to decades of research, we are closer than ever before to understanding it. Now in The Intelligent Brain, taught by one of the world's foremost researchers on intelligence, Professor Richard J. Haier of the University of California, Irvine, you'll trace the fascinating history of intelligence testing and its leading thinkers, as well as what brain imaging studies and the most recent research findings reveal about this most complex of human phenomena.


Richard J. Haier

I'm very gratified to see positive customer feedback on the most controversial aspects of intelligence, especially when the course changes how people view the scientific study of intelligence and corrects popular misconceptions.


University of California, Irvine
Dr. Richard J. Haier is Professor Emeritus in the School of Medicine at the University of California, Irvine, where he has been teaching and conducting research since 1984. He earned his B.A. in Psychology from the State University of New York at Buffalo, and his Ph.D. in Psychology from Johns Hopkins University. Before his appointment at Irvine he was on the faculty of Brown University's Alpert Medical School. Professor Haier's main research interest is the structural and functional neuroanatomy of higher cognitive processes, especially intelligence. In 1988, he and his colleagues conducted the first modern functional brain imaging study of intelligence with positron emission tomography (PET) and proposed a hypothesis linking good performance on an intelligence test to efficient brain function. Professor Haier's more recent research with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has identified specific brain areas where gray and white matter features correlate to the g factor of intelligence and other intelligence factors. In 2012, he received the Distinguished Contributor Award from the International Society for Intelligence Research. In addition to his many professional publications, Professor Haier's research has been featured on NOVA scienceNOW, NPR, CNN, and CBS Sunday Morning, and in numerous newspaper and magazine articles.

By This Professor

The Intelligent Brain
The Intelligent Brain


What Is Intelligence?

01: What Is Intelligence?

Probe the nature of intelligence by looking first at the phenomenon of savants-individuals who excel at a narrow mental skill. Does this qualify as intelligence? Examine how intelligence is defined, and explore its connection to IQ and a variable called g, which is the conjectured general factor of intelligence....

30 min
Assessing Intelligence

02: Assessing Intelligence

What does an IQ test measure? Study the history of intelligence tests, including the Stanford-Binet test and the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale. Consider typical questions used to measure intelligence, and learn how they are designed to avoid bias. Also look at the SAT for college admission....

30 min
General Intelligence in Everyday Life

03: General Intelligence in Everyday Life

Survey the importance of intelligence in 10 areas of everyday life, from school success to managing money to making medical decisions. What does the g factor predict about the ability to cope in these situations? Finally, consider the implications of such predictions for public policy....

27 min
To g or Not to g-Is That the Question?

04: To g or Not to g-Is That the Question?

Analyze a model of intelligence that incorporates two special factors: fluid intelligence and crystallized intelligence. Then explore alternatives to the g concept, including Robert Sternberg's theory of practical intelligence and Howard Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences. What is the evidence for these ideas?...

32 min
Intelligence and Genius over the Life Span

05: Intelligence and Genius over the Life Span

Follow the careers of geniuses throughout their lives in three classic studies that began in California in the 1920s, Scotland in the 1930s, and Baltimore in the 1970s. Each study started when the test subjects were children, testing their mental abilities and successes at various intervals....

29 min
Early Childhood Experience and Intelligence

06: Early Childhood Experience and Intelligence

Do early childhood experiences affect intelligence? Look at the value of compensatory education, which was evaluated in what may be the most controversial article in the history of psychology. Then examine the impact of environmental elements, such as culture, birth order, and family size....

28 min
Genes and Intelligence

07: Genes and Intelligence

Are there intelligence genes? Delve into the connection between genes and intellectual capacity, focusing on the search for relevant genes and environmental triggers that may govern gene expression. Also examine the history of intelligence research on identical twins, particularly those reared apart....

31 min
Can We See Intelligence in the Brain?

08: Can We See Intelligence in the Brain?

Brain imaging technology may be the most important development in intelligence research in the last 40 years. Explore positron emission tomography, or PET, which highlights areas of the brain that are working hardest. Learn that these data correlate in an unexpected way with intelligence....

29 min
What Brain Imaging Reveals about Intelligence

09: What Brain Imaging Reveals about Intelligence

Turn to magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, a technique that can measure brain structure and changing brain activity. Among other findings, MRI scans suggest that men and women may have different brain areas related to the g factor. Also investigate a new brain imaging technology called magneto-encephalogram, or MEG....

29 min
Intelligence and the Brains of Children

10: Intelligence and the Brains of Children

Examine research about intelligence and the brains of children and adolescents. Focus on three questions: What aspects of brain development are related to intelligence? Are these developmental factors essentially the same for everyone? Is there a critical period when these factors can be influenced?...

29 min
Sex and Intelligence

11: Sex and Intelligence

Survey average differences between the sexes in specific mental abilities, such as verbal fluency, fine motor skills, and mathematical and scientific reasoning. Do different performances in these spheres relate to sex differences in the brain? Do these differences help explain the disparity of men and women in certain professions?...

28 min
Race and Intelligence

12: Race and Intelligence

Tests such as the SAT show a persistent performance gap connected to race. This is one of the most volatile issues in the social sciences. Use the information developed in the course so far to analyze the issues and possible causes and remedies for closing the gap....

29 min
Are We Really Getting Smarter?

13: Are We Really Getting Smarter?

Delve into the controversy over the Flynn effect, named for psychologist James R. Flynn, who was one of the first to study the phenomenon of worldwide rising IQ scores. Is each generation really smarter than the last? If so, does this trend disprove a major role for genetics in intelligence?...

29 min
The Mind in Milliseconds

14: The Mind in Milliseconds

Scores on intelligence tests are only meaningful compared to those of other people. In this lecture, explore a simple and easy way to estimate intelligence in absolute terms. Also, learn about the concept of "mental chronometry" to measure intelligence as proposed by the prolific and controversial researcher, Arthur Jensen of the University of California, Berkeley....

27 min
Creativity and Intelligence

15: Creativity and Intelligence

Examine rare cases in which brain trauma unleashes hidden powers of creativity. How do such examples shed light on the problem of defining and measuring creativity? Next, probe the connection between creativity and intelligence, and explore intriguing clues from brain imaging studies....

28 min
Can Intelligence Be Enhanced?

16: Can Intelligence Be Enhanced?

Look into the future of intelligence enhancement, which may involve gene manipulation and an understanding of how specific genes function to increase intelligence. Then cover two nongenetic techniques that are being researched currently: memory training and an approach that promotes accelerated learning with mild electric shocks to the brain....

29 min
Intelligence, Child Rearing, and Education

17: Intelligence, Child Rearing, and Education

Probe the potential for brain imaging to evaluate a student's cognitive abilities. Can brain data be used to create a profile that would predict not only the pattern of cognitive strengths and weaknesses, but also how to tailor education for a person with that pattern?...

30 min
The IQ Pill

18: The IQ Pill

If we could raise intelligence, should we? Consider the current controversy over the use of drugs by students to get better test scores. What about the future, when drugs to enhance memory, attention, and learning may be vastly better? Probe the ethical quandaries we may soon face in pursuit of ever-greater intelligence....

32 min