Early Education Plays Major Role in Developing Intelligence

Your IQ wasn't set at birth. Turns out, intelligence is quite malleable. Genes play a role in influencing your intelligence, but not as much as your upbringing.

What dictates a person's intelligence? Is it something in our genetic code that helps us become brainier, or does how we were raised play a role in our intellectual fate? Tom Jacobs from Pacific Standard writes that this question has been debated by scientists for years. But two recent studies provide evidence against the idea that intelligence is static.

Kenneth Kendler of Virginia Commonwealth University led a study that looked into records of adopted Swedish siblings. He found that “adoption into improved socioeconomic circumstances is associated with a significant advantage in IQ at age 18.”

“Despite being demonstrably related to genetic endowment, cognitive ability is environmentally malleable.”

David Baker, the lead author of a similar study, looked more at the American population. He found that the “mean IQ test scores of cohorts of American adults increased by approximately 25 points over the last 90 years.” This data correlates to increasing school attendance over the years.

The studies both seem to indicate that in order for a genius to thrive, the environment needs to be suitable enough for them to grow. It's not all about natural ability.

Similar scientific studies into how we learn the basic building blocks of language echo these ideas. The wild-children studies — chance opportunities where a child has been brought up without language and re-introduced into society — have shown that there's a window of time to influence the genes dedicated to learning communication. However, once that window is closed, it's difficult for the subject to grasp the finer points of communication patterns and its structure.

We are all born into this world with certain set advantages and disadvantages, but in the early stages of our lives, we have the capacity to grow our abilities beyond their original programming. It's all dependent on whether that child's environment will allow it.

Read more at Pacific Standard.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

China’s artificial sun reaches fusion temperature: 100 million degrees

In a breakthrough for nuclear fusion research, scientists at China's Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) reactor have produced temperatures necessary for nuclear fusion on Earth.

Credit: EAST Team
Surprising Science
  • The EAST reactor was able to heat hydrogen to temperatures exceeding 100 million degrees Celsius.
  • Nuclear fusion could someday provide the planet with a virtually limitless supply of clean energy.
  • Still, scientists have many other obstacles to pass before fusion technology becomes a viable energy source.
Keep reading Show less

Project 100,000: The Vietnam War's cruel and deadly experiment

Military recruits are supposed to be assessed to see whether they're fit for service. What happens when they're not?

Flickr user Tommy Truong79
Politics & Current Affairs
  • During the Vietnam War, Robert McNamara began a program called Project 100,000.
  • The program brought over 300,000 men to Vietnam who failed to meet minimum criteria for military service, both physically and mentally.
  • Project 100,000 recruits were killed in disproportionate numbers and fared worse after their military service than their civilian peers, making the program one of the biggest—and possibly cruelest—mistakes of the Vietnam War.
Keep reading Show less

Here's how diverse the 116th Congress is set to become

The 116th Congress is set to break records in term of diversity among its lawmakers, though those changes are coming almost entirely from Democrats.

(Photo: MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Women and nonwhite candidates made record gains in the 2018 midterms.
  • In total, almost half of the newly elected Congressional representatives are not white men.
  • Those changes come almost entirely from Democrats; Republican members-elect are all white men except for one woman.
Keep reading Show less