Are genetics another part of the big picture? People are mostly aware that genetics can influence physical traits and mental behaviors. However, researchers are now suggesting that intelligence is genetic as well.
Nature and Nurture
Around 50 percent of a person’s intelligence can be attributed to the genes that were passed down to them. The other half is an individual differential. This half is supported by the environment in which a person grows up or lives in.
These findings were discovered after over a century of research. Now, the genetic intelligence gap is an average difference. Individual levels can be affected by a substantial number of variables such as illnesses, disabilities, or accidents.
Research and Results
Different scores on IQ, (intelligence quotient), tests are still mostly a result of hereditary traits. For example, intelligence levels of adopted children were studied. Results showed that they did not match up with their adoptive parents in terms of brain power. Furthermore, these children also exhibited different intelligence levels than their adoptive siblings.
On the other hand, kids who were adopted still show similar intelligence levels to their birth parents. This holds true even when they were never exposed to them.
Interestingly, genetic intelligence similarities also seem to increase over time. It starts at around 20 percent during the early years of life and skyrockets to an incredible 60 percent during adulthood.
Research has yet to fully explain which genes are directly involved with intelligence variations. However, several recent findings have shown that thousands of genes could be involved.
Controversy and Communication
Many researchers are afraid to make the correlation between genes and intelligence. This is because the study of eugenics was historically used to oppress certain racial, economic, and religious groups. This is not that.
The intention behind the study of genetic intelligence is much different. Additionally, genes that are passed down can be activated or not. This depends on the environment in which the individual is brought up in. To put it simply, genetics are a roadmap and not a final destination. Someone could be born with highly intelligent genes, but they may not reach their full potential without the necessary education. Similarly, a child who is born with less than intelligent genes may decide to break free and study their entire life to enhance their IQ.
These new correlations between genetics and intelligence could be used for good. For example, measuring a child’s natural potential could help tailor their education in a more specific way. This may help teachers give children a direct and individual approach to learning instead of a universal teaching method.
Genetic Intelligence Potential Predictions
Now that researchers know that intelligence is genetic in many ways, they can try to predict how a child will do in school and life. Currently, there is a way to try and do just that. It is known as the GPS, (genome-wide polygenic score). It could be utilized in ways that are similar to how genetic analyzations are used to decipher genealogical or medical backgrounds.
In contrast, these intelligence scores are not always accurate. More samples are needed to predict intelligence levels in a stable way. It is also important to note that these scores do not include environmental variables. So, there will be a gap in accuracy there as well. Further research and tools are needed to predict the genetic promise of intelligence in individuals.
It is true that intelligence is genetic, but that is not the entire story. Though thousands of genes work together to form certain levels of intelligence, environmental factors also play a huge role. However, it is certain that biological children, siblings, and parents show similarities during IQ tests. As a result, intelligence can be measured by genetic potential as well as how that promise is nurtured.