Very often in an academic environment one can actually hear some parents complaining about their children poor performance in class and at times the whole blame goes to the class teacher and the school. But the big question is apart from the school settings does hereditary has a role to play in the child’s intelligence quotient? Is intelligence really gotten genetically? Alright to answer these questions I think we should look at what intelligence is all about first then we can forge ahead.
Proof That Intelligence Is Inherited!
Intelligence is a mental capability that, among other things involves the ability to reason, plan, solve problems, think abstractly, comprehend complex ideas, learn quickly and learn from experience. It is not only studying, a narrow academic skill, or test-taking smarts. Rather, it reflects a broader and deeper capability for comprehending our surroundings catching on, making sense of things, or figuring out what to do. From various researches carried out by psychologist, it is generally accepted that intelligence is inherited but can also be related to the environment. While studies showed that heredity is an important factor in determining intelligence, it was also suggested that environment is a critical factor in determining the extent of its expression. An investigation done recently revealed that 70 percent of the differences in the twins’ Intelligent Quotient. Scores were attributable to inherited traits.
Previous studies had suggested that about 50 percent of the differences in scores were inherited. Studies showed that the grey matter volume is strongly determined by genes, and reflected cognitive performance. It was also suggested that there is a strong genetic influence on Intelligent Quotient, verbal and spatial abilities, so in short our genes determine the quality of our intelligence, our ability to integrate and process information. The level of our intelligence determines how well we cope with changes in our environment. It is believed that race and culture have their share in intelligence as well, but so far there is no confirmed conclusion that intelligence varies from race to race. Environmental factors can play a role as well, but in fact they are capable of slowing down our mental processes more than enhancing it. There is no evidence to indicate that our environment can increase intelligence to a relatively high level. It is also inherently easier to degrade brain tissue than to create more complex brain tissue. Enhancements in brain structure require long periods of evolutionary selection, in addition to the availability of extraneous sources of energy. While brain degradation can happen in a relatively shorter time.
In a recent study it has been revealed that genetic factors play an important role in the academic performance of children. The study has explained the substantial influence genes have on academic success, from the start of elementary school to the last day of high school. For many years, research has linked educational achievement to life circumstances, such as occupational status, health or happiness. However, if performing well in school predicts better life outcomes, what predicts how well someone will do throughout school? Psychology postdoctoral Margherita Malanchini, said;
“Around two-thirds of individual differences in school achievement are explained by differences in children’s DNA. But less is known about how these factors contribute to an individual’s academic success over time”.
Researchers found out that educational achievement is highly stable throughout schooling, meaning that most students who started off well in primary school continued to do well until graduation. Genetic factors explained about 70 per cent of this stability, while the twins shared environment contributed to about 25 per cent, and their non-shared environment, such as different friends or teachers, contributed to the remaining 5 per cent.
“Academic achievement is driven by a range of cognitive and non-cognitive traits, Previously, studies have linked it to personality, behavioral problems, motivation, health and many other factors that are partly heritable”
However, at times grades did change, such as a drop in grades between primary and secondary school. Those changes, researchers said, can be explained largely by non-shared environmental factors. Today, an average Intelligent Quotient score is considered to be 100, with deviations based on this figure. Intelligence tests do not measure creativity, character, personality, or other important differences among individuals, nor are they intended to.
While there are different types of intelligence quotient tests, they all measure the same factor. Some use words or numbers and require specific cultural knowledge. Others do not, and instead use shapes or designs and require knowledge of only simple, universal concepts. Most people cluster around the average i.e. IQ 100. Few are either very bright or very dull. Intelligence tests are not culturally biased against any race, for example in America, IQ scores predict equally and accurately for all Americans, regardless of race and social class. Individuals who do not understand English well can be given either a nonverbal test or one in their native language. The main criticism of intelligence analysis is that it is difficult to insure that test items are equally meaningful or difficult for members of different socio-cultural groups. This is often considered validated in part, however, by the finding that the quantity measured by the tests can be closely correlated in American society with career and academic achievement.
Whereas the high heritability of intelligence differences has been made increasingly clear, the nature of the genetic polymorphisms implied by this heritability is unclear. The genes for individual differences in ability are often general in their effects, which implies that, just as gene is associated with diverse cognitive and biological functions, the genes underlying differences in themselves might affect many brain systems, rather than being specific for one or just a few cognitive modules. With this it has been suggested that a maximum rate of progress in understanding the biology of a diverse range of cognitive differences would be achieved in the first instance by large-scale studies of general ability.