'A wonderfully compact summary of brain architecture and function' – Wall Street Journal 

244 pages/2010 – World English Language (Yale University Press), Japan (Hayakawa), Russia (Hippo/Kariera) 

244 pages/2010 – World English Language (Yale University Press), Japan (Hayakawa), Russia (Hippo/Kariera) 

How Intelligence Happens

John Duncan

A leading neuroscientist's account of his search for the biological basis of intelligence.

Understanding how brains build intelligence is among the most fascinating challenges of modern science. How does the biological brain, a collection of billions of cells, enable us to do things no other species can do? John Duncan has spent 30 years studying the human brain, and in this book he tells the story of his hunt for the basic principles of human intelligence, behaviour and thought.

Using results from classical studies of intelligence testing, from attempts to build computers that think, from studies of how minds change after brain damage, from modern discoveries of brain imaging and from groundbreaking recent research, Duncan synthesizes often difficult-to-understand information into a book that will appeal to scientific and popular readers alike. He explains how brains break down problems into useful, solvable parts, then assemble these parts into the complex mental processes of human thought and action.

At the heart of the book is the quest for the seat of intelligence: the cerebral source of general intelligence. The author and his colleagues have identified just one brain region that seems to be at the core of IQ: a zone in the frontal lobes, just above the outer edges of the eyebrows. The region is important for planning and solving novel tasks, keeping many things in mind at once and screening out irrelevant information – and is revealing itself as a hitherto unknown window into human nature. 

Moving from the foundations of psychology, artificial intelligence and neuroscience to the latest scientific thinking, How Intelligence Happens is for all those curious to understand what we mean by intelligence, how and why it happens and what this can tell us about ourselves.