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

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

People who engage in fat-shaming tend to score high in this personality trait

A new study explores how certain personality traits affect individuals' attitudes on obesity in others.

Mind & Brain
  • The study compared personality traits and obesity views among more than 3,000 mothers.
  • The results showed that the personality traits neuroticism and extraversion are linked to more negative views and behaviors related to obesity.
  • People who scored high in conscientiousness are more likely to experience "fat phobia.
Keep reading Show less

4 anti-scientific beliefs and their damaging consequences

The rise of anti-scientific thinking and conspiracy is a concerning trend.

Moon Landing Apollo
  • Fifty years later after one of the greatest achievements of mankind, there's a growing number of moon landing deniers. They are part of a larger trend of anti-scientific thinking.
  • Climate change, anti-vaccination and other assorted conspiratorial mindsets are a detriment and show a tangible impediment to fostering real progress or societal change.
  • All of these separate anti-scientific beliefs share a troubling root of intellectual dishonesty and ignorance.
Keep reading Show less

Reigning in brutality - how one man's outrage led to the Red Cross and the Geneva Conventions

The history of the Geneva Conventions tells us how the international community draws the line on brutality.

Napoleon III at the Battle of Solferino. Painting by Adolphe Yvon. 1861.
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Henry Dunant's work led to the Red Cross and conventions on treating prisoners humanely.
  • Four Geneva Conventions defined the rules for prisoners of war, torture, naval and medical personnel and more.
  • Amendments to the agreements reflect the modern world but have not been ratified by all countries.
Keep reading Show less