Conceptual Intelligence

The Neocortex or more specifically the Frontal Lobes evolved later and is exaggerated among great apes and humans.  It is the layer of the brain that houses our conceptual intelligence or conscious mind and is believed to be responsible for problem solving, creativity and reasoning.  This mind processing center responds to conceptual inputs and controls intellectual responses.  Our conceptual level of intelligence received information and communicates responses through various languages (verbal, art, math etc.).  Although the miracle of language provides the preferred method for conceptual communication, for love partners, it is not as easy as taking two people who can talk in complete sentences and asking them to connect cognitively.  Knowledge gaps between partners in terms of academic achievements, opinions, roles, cultures, career goals, and financial factors can contribute to conceptual communication barriers and are usually accompanied by strong emotional commitment to individual position.  Conceptual intelligence provides for the only continuum of connection where conscious choices can be made along several subordinate lines.

There is no simple answer or single linear cause and effect string of events in the story of hominids and emergence of conceptual intelligence. Instead, a combination of several, biological, emotional, social, and intellectual variables combined over several million years whereby the effect or innovation of a particular adaption represented as the result of a previous cause quickly became the primary cause for the next innovation.  In addition, rather than conclude with understanding the impact that these developments had on modern dating regiments and love relationships, we must add the emergence of consciousness, the diversity of personality type, and the myriad of intermingling and conflicting implications of pop culture to ultimately comprehend present day mating behavior.

I would suggest that, as with advances to reasoning, language, culture, and technology, the period of human development, 150,000 years ago to 35,000 years ago, was a time marked by advances in human emotional development as well.  It would not be out of the question to infer that humans of this time may have experienced the first feelings of amazement, jealously, sympathy, grief, and optimism, not to mention the first heartfelt declaration of eternal love.

Women of the time may also have advanced language skills and subsequently culture through flipping the bird at the well-established animal kingdom mate selection process, might makes right.  It is not mere speculation that women place a premium on language skills in modern mate selection and from 50,000 years ago to the present day, many have paired with males who possessed the best communication skills.  Men with better verbal skills have not always been the best protectors or providers and were most likely not the strongest among their troop, so why did women choose them over physically superior specimens?  It may be as simple as their ability to connect through conceptual intelligence, declare their commitment, and profess their undying love through language skills!

The archeological record may demonstrate this; among the earliest accepted archeologically evidence of imagination and creativity, behaviorally modern humans, there are several “Venus Figurines” that have been uncovered from various dig sites in various geographies dating from the Upper Paleolithic, circa 40 tya – 13 tya.  Discovered figurines of the period are typically small statuettes of the female body carved out of antler, ivory, or colored rock like green serpentine.

Archeologists are quick to assign the emergence of conceptual intelligence and modern behavior and religious ceremonial value to these artifacts; however, they are careful not to apply the emotional state of love as a possible motivation for the tremendous caveman efforts.  I would suggest just the opposite, that the artistic expressions of the time were directly tied to the newly evolved, ultimately complex emotion of love.  Perhaps if archeologists spent less time digging up old bones and more time jumping new ones, they might notice the direct correlation between art and love that the rest of us archeologically challenged modern humans so easily recognize.

What’s love got to do with it?  Love, if we accept the simple dictionary definition:  a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person; may be the most consuming of all emotional states and thought processes.  Love could certainly be considered one of the most physically active states of the brain and sometimes body and one of the most complex states of mind that we can experience as humans.  Love requires the establishment of physical, emotional, and intellectual connections as well as continual internal and external communication at the instinctual, perceptual, and conceptual levels of intelligence.  Love demands that we constantly monitor these connections for even the slightest changes in partner behavior and commitment level and communicate our subconscious and conscious findings to our partner for confirmation or reassessment.  Love may be at the bases of motivation of many human behaviors and one of the primary causes of intellectual and cultural advancement during the last 50,000 years.

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