What would it be like to have a much lower or higher IQ than you currently have — for example, to be a squirrel or an advanced space alien? This week’s episode is about intelligence. What is it and what is its history and future? Join Eagleman on a whistle-stop tour of several schools of thought about what intelligence might mean in the brain.

Episode Audio

Episode Video

More Information:

Nagel, T. (1980). What is it like to be a bat?. In The Language and Thought Series (pp. 159-168). Harvard University Press.

Eagleman DM. (2023). A proposed test for human-level intelligence in AI. PsyArXiv.

Eagleman DM. (2007). 10 Unsolved Mysteries Of The Brain. Discover Magazine.

Duncan J, Seitz RJ, Kolodny J, Bor D, Herzog H, Ahmed A, Newell FN, Emslie H. (2000). A neural basis for general intelligence. Science. 2000 Jul 21;289(5478):457-60.

Duncan J, Assem M, Shashidhara S. Integrated intelligence from distributed brain activity. (2020). Trends in Cognitive Sciences. 2020 Oct 1;24(10):838-52.


"David Eagleman offers startling lessons.... His method is to ask us to cast off our lazy commonplace assumptions.
- The Guardian
"Eagleman has a talent for testing the untestable, for taking seemingly sophomoric notions and using them to nail down the slippery stuff of consciousness."
- The New Yorker
"[A] neuroscientist and polymath."
- Wall Street Journal
"David Eagleman may be the best combination of scientist and fiction-writer alive."
- Stewart Brand
"What Eagleman seems to be calling for is a new Enlightenment."
- Sunday Herald
"A popularizer of impressive gusto...[Eagleman] aims, grandly, to do for the study of the mind what Copernicus did for the study of the stars."
- New York Observer
"David Eagleman is the kind of guy who really does make being a neuroscientist look like fun."
- New York Times