As a PhD student, I took a class in animal behaviour. I didn’t work very hard and have forgotten most of it. However, since I became a father, I have been thinking more about this class. One of the papers I read was the classic “The social function of the intellect” by Nicholas Humphrey, first published in 1976. The paper is packed with insightful analogies. For example, Humphrey offered an interesting interpretation of Robinson Crusoe.
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Last week I went to see an optometrist. As he examined my eye with a strong light, I was amazed that I saw an image of the blood vessels on the retina. This phenomenon is called the entoptic image. It was first described by Purkinje about 200 years ago. I read about it in “How we perceive our own retina” by Kuno Kirschfeld (published in Proc. Bio. Sci.)

What is known as the visual cortex today was thought to be the site of “philoprogenitivty” (parental love) in phrenology.