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Norns in the hierarchy of intelligence   


  8/22/2021  3

I kept many many different pets in my life, crayfish, fish, chickens, hamsters, mice, guinea pigs, society finches, frogs, leopard geckos and many others.
Last month I was interested in the mental capacities of animals kept as pets in general and searched on the internet. While there is no common accepted concept of intelligence or consciousness in scientific community, there are many different models to measure this concepts.

I searched for brain to body mass/length ratio, number of neurons and concepts of measuring consciousness/awareness.

I created just for fun and interest many ranking lists and combined them to a general raking system which based on the three factors: Consciousness score, number of neurons(If data is available) and brain to body mass/body length.

This is all not really scientific, but gives a vague idea of a ranking.

I remembered that norns had neurons too and are capable of some consciousness defining abilities. I decided to integrate norns into the ranking and searched for the differences in genetic norn breeds of different creatures games.

And here are the results:

First it has to be noticed that the number of neurons is highest in C2 norns. Nova Subterra posses the most neurons (1914) The lowest number of neurons is found in C3 CFE Norns (891). C2 Norn (991) C1 Norn (954) C3 Normal/ CFF / Evo Norn (892)
But: C3 norns can remember information about different individual norns, which is not an ability of C2 and C1 norns. Remembering different Individuals is one of the score giving factors of consciousness.

Where do norns stand in the hierarchy of brains and awareness? The answer is bitter for norn lovers: Its somewhere between Daddy Longlegs and a Cayenne caecilian an long, slimy amphibian with a decent smile!

More details on the raking list (Only the lower part of it, its very long):

Proteus anguinus
Antarctic Krill
Cayenne caecilian
C3Norn Normal/CFF/Evo Norn
C3Norn CFE
C2Norn Nova Subterra
C2Norn Kannova
C2 Canny Norn
C2 Norn
C1 Norn
Daddy Longlegs
Funnel Web Spider/Hobo Spider
Jumping Spider
Damon Diadema
Camel Spider
Orb Weaver
Apple Snails/Bavarian Water Snail
Great Pond Snail
River Snail
Asassin Snail/Nerites
Great Ramshorn
Paradise Snail
Leopard Slug
Bladder Snail
Decollate Snail /Slugs
Giant African Land Snail (A.Achatina)
Roman Snail
Giant African Land Snail
Spanish Slug

What would norns need to be higher ranked? First of all they posess very few neurons compared to their body size, its between worms and snails. Norns lack the ability to recognize themselves at a position on the map to be able to remember places. Without remembering positions on the map, they cannot connect this places to food sources, toys, mates or dangerous creatures. Norns can feel pain and react to it, but they cannot understand a complex situation in which is important to aknowledge WHY the pain happened, they just connect it with an specific object or creature.
For example: If a norn could climb a tree and would fall down, he would become afraid of trees, not of height or climbing, which is not a sign of high consciousness.

If they could do this things, they would level up into the realm of crustaceans, insects, amphibians and reptiles. If the norns would posess these traits, they would stand between African Clawed Frog and a Ball Python on the list ;)

Wrong Banshee

United Kingdom  

 visit Dragoler's website: TWB Development Thread
  8/22/2021  1

Current release TWB norns possess 952 neurons which come from the the sensorimotor lobe, also CFE norns possess more neurons than vanilla C3 norns due to the inclusion of the forf support and elevation lobes. It'd be interesting if you also included the number of lobes and brain tracts in your calculations when comparing the norn genomes.

Creator of the TWB/TCB genome base.


United States  

 visit Lurhstaap's website: Addicted To CAOS
  8/22/2021  1

Yeah, I honestly think raw neuron count is a bad way to go. IRL, it's already been shown that raw neuron count is very misleading. Density and efficiency matter as much as overall count; that's why birds, for example, can be so intelligent with relatively small brains.

Conclude with killer catchphrase.
"This is not knowledge -
this is information!"
New Model Army, "Courage"



  8/23/2021  1

When i open a CFE .gen the Genetics Kit shows 891 Neurons. Is the Genetics Kit not able to load the others?

And you are right, neuron count is not the only value to measure. That is also considered in the ranking. Consciousness score is determined by following factors and has also a value for the placement of the norns on the list:

-Is the animal able to remember information about a certain object?
-Is the animal able to remember special places? (Norns cannot)
-Is the animal able to remember different individuals?

-Can the animal feel pain?
-Can the animal get depressed? (Norns cannot, they can say that they are feeling bad, but no long term depression)
-Can the animals connect bad feelings to a certain place? (Norns cannot)

-Can the animal feel touch?
-Can the animal see?
-Can the animal hear?
-Can the animal smell?
-Can the animal recognize its environment otherwise?(Ultrasound for example) (Norns cannot)

-Can the animal recognize itself(For example mirror test) (Norns cannot, because they are even unable to know their position on the map, running down cliffs, often fail to grab objects correctly in C2+C1) Fearing an object called “cliff” is not the ability to recognize its own position.

Its based on this ideas:

The Unity Factor is not included in calculation, because information about it is generally lacking in most species and a too abstract concept I think.

Some people will may say that norns can remember places like norn home, or wandering around for searching food, but that is not that ability. That is more comparable to snails, who searching around for food, until they recognize a food smell and follow it to get the food.
The snails are not able to return to their hiding places by remembering the position. When it gets more dry and brighter, they are moving in search for smell of humidity/other snails and will stop their search, if the light gets low enough. They cannot remember a certain position, their hiding ability is only based on sensory tasks, not a map position.

Norns cannot observe other norns in doing tasks and learning from them. Other norns can give them vocal commands/suggestions, but this is comparable to pheromone release of invertebrates like bees or ants and not real learning by observing.


United Kingdom  

 visit FieryBirdyThing's website: CeeGee Toons
  8/23/2021  1

So... Norns are essentially big, furry insects, then? XD

This is an intriguing project, nevertheless. Even if the results reflect badly on the Norns themselves, it's always interesting to see how and why they behave the way they do.

CeeGee Toons | Club Nintendo Archives


  8/23/2021  3

I would think of them as a monkey/rabbit like looking gastropod, a furry snail. Maybe these are their true ancestors instead of the widespread Hoppity-Theory:

They are also experience the pitfalls of a snails life: Bumping into strange places, forming knots of many individuals, falling into ponds, being attracted to beer and stranding in a wasteland, not able to find any food source. But the theory is lacking in explaining a main factor of norn life: Elevator addiction. This has never been documented in a gastropod as far as I know. Correct me, if I'm wrong ;)



  8/23/2021  1

Thankfully the elevator/doors addiction is more a bug with the engine than the brain itself.

For the other questions, norns can't exactly remember certain "objects" as they only see categories. But for each of those categories they can at least relate "doing x on this lowers my y drive" or something like that.

The forf lobe tracks information for every norn a norn has interacted with(and also includes the hand). While a norn can't choose which other norn to look at, the one it is looking at will influence what actions it'll take against them, depending on how they've been treated.

Norns do feel pain yes, physical pain at least.

Norns can see(categories at least) and smell(CAs, which are used to track down objects). Norns can't really feel touch on anything, mostly because the games don't have any mechanics relating to it, but assuming speech bubble stuff is verbal they can hear.

Recognizing the environment is a super hard one though. While normal norns lack the ability to tell what room they're in, norns with sensorimotor can get details like the season or current room and other misc information.

You know...wait...nevermind... later...

United States  

 visit Lurhstaap's website: Addicted To CAOS
  8/23/2021  1

Norns don't map well to any real animal. As artificial creatures they have combinations of traits which simply are not found in actual nature.

That said, I'd personally compare them to ants. They're definitely not all that bright overall.

CA 0 was originally meant to be used for sound, but that was never properly implemented. So technically Norns are deaf to everything *except* each others' voices. And they CAN learn from what others say even if they can't learn from what others do. I've seen them take each others' suggestions. (Mind, only duotracts, but still.) I don't agree that this is comparable to pheromone release because pheromone release is automatic; the bees respond to certain concentrations of pheromones automatically. Whereas Norns don't automatically respond to suggestions made by others. They have a choice - or at least it's not as simple a calculation as a chemical threshold.

They're socially more complex than they are in terms of environmental navigation. The concept of 'multiple intelligences' may be controversial with humans, but with Norns I think it's the only meaningful way to quantify their intelligence. When it comes to social dynamics they're far smarter than an ant or a bee. Bees don't have personal opinions of each other, at least not as far as anyone can tell. But when it comes to the navigation issue, the snail comparison is quite apt.

Conclude with killer catchphrase.
"This is not knowledge -
this is information!"
New Model Army, "Courage"


United States  

  8/23/2021  1

At some point in the past couple years I decided that they were more comparable to a bacterium than anything. no higher awareness, or much of a conscious mind, and the only senses they have are most equivalent to smell (Being able to identify something anywhere in a radius around itself based on vague categories, but not being able to distinguish objects on any deeper level)

From what I've seen so far a Grandroid would definitely be a lot higher on this scale, though idk HOW much



  8/23/2021  1

I wouldn’t call Norns a literal bacterium, they’re more akin to jellyfish in terms of intelligence, they just happen to be less…gooey.

Grendels aren't so bad, but I love Ettins! They're adorable! The complexity of creatures is quite amazing.


  8/24/2021  2

An interesting fact is that the norn brain is not meant to evolve, Dup Mut Cut is not activated in the genetics of brain phisiology. I don't know why that is the case but I remember that I created norns with the ability to mutate their brains many years ago with the genetics kit. The result was that the game crashed soon after a norn with mutated brain hatched. The engine seems not to be able to handle brains that are not build the normal way, or in logical parameters.

Another problem is the norn physiology. There is no reason why the game engine would not support changes in norn appearance, but there is no way for them to change appearance and this was also planned by the creators. In a game magazine from 1997 which contained Creatures 1 it is described that the creators don't want norns to be born without arms or legs, or with more then one pair of arms, which would be bad for the customers feelings, especially children (But why then they allowed stillbirth?)

But these two things are problematic in the whole sense of norns as a species with the ability to evolve. What are norns able to evolve to? They can only change their biochemistry and insticts to become more able to survive, but cannot enhance their mental abilities or physiological powers. They cannot become faster, able to swim, fly or learn to climb or dig. They cannot become larger, smaller or longer.

In the era of warp norns had a very large population and many people played Docking Station regularly which boosted norn evolution. But what was the result of this? The norns didn't evolve smarter, how should they do this when it is not possible for their brains to evolve? They became more hardy to toxins, diseases, physical attacks and many became highlanders, immortal. There where also norns/other creatures which couldn't be killed by shooting them into space, but this seemed to be script modifications/cheats by some people.


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