Stability and Change

Welcome back unicorns! Ready to find out if it’s genetics or environment that shapes one’s IQ? Well, get ready cause that’s what my essay is about. I think that genetics fabricate one’s standard intelligence, but the environment around one is what moulds it to make the final product. I show how one’s IQ changes from how it was when they were born to it’s final product. One’s IQ starts off one way; as one grows up, one’s IQ changes, flourishes. Scientists and studies document this change, and I do my best to explain them and show you how this happens. Read the essay posted below to get the full details.

Environment and Genetics Both Play a Role in One’s Intelligence
Manika Bansal
Us, today, in the 21st century are thought to be smarter than those in the previous ages. For example, the Neanderthals; however, what’s intriguing is whether it’s due to the effect of the environment around us or due to one’s genetics? Genetics are what make us human. They give us our characteristics and determine who we are. Our environment is what surrounds us and determines what we do. It is neither one nor the other that determines one’s IQ. Genetics establish the baseline for intelligence, but environment shapes it to make the final product. Identical twin studies, socioeconomic status environments, music, and genius level understanding and ability will help me prove this.

Environment affects one’s IQ as it’s what surrounds one as they grows up. It’s what shows one how to think, how to act, and how to live. This has been proven by Stanford at The Tech. Identical twins have the same DNA when born, while fraternal twins don’t. So, if they were to take an IQ test, they would all have different strikingly different IQs if genetics didn’t play a role in one’s IQ. In the results of the test, the closer the number is to 1.0, the more similar the IQs are. When the test was conducted with twins that grew up together, a person that took the test twice scored a good 0.95, while the identical twins scored a 0.86, and the fraternal twins scored a striking 0.55. These results led the researchers toward the discovery that identical twins have a similar IQ, whereas fraternal twins don’t. In contrast, when this same experiment was conducted again, but with twins that were raised in different environments, the identical twins scored a surprising 0.76, while the fraternal twins scored a lowly 0.35. This proves that environment shapes the final product of one’s IQ.

Kurt Lewin was a scientists that decided to go deeper. He is considered to be the father of modern social psychology. His theories inspired the classic research of the last century, and his principles of social psychology still govern the way researchers design experiments today. His greatest theoretical idea was: the power of the situation. “Lewin believed that people are a product of the interaction of (1) their past experiences, with (2) the current situational context.” — Michael W Kraus. Kraus believes that the right question to ask is how do genes and environment interact to shape behaviour? For years, researchers have argued over whether environment or genetics shape one’s IQ, but Eric Turkheimer and his colleagues at the University of Virginia answered that very question. He discovered that when twins were raised in high socioeconomic status environments, with education provided for them, genes accounted for about 72% of variance in intelligence scores between twins. Turkheimer believes this is because high socioeconomic status environments are enriching and provide what is necessary to unlock one’s genetic potential. In contrast, when raised in low socioeconomic status environments, genes accounted for only about 8% of variance in intelligence scores between twins. This is because low socioeconomic status environments are impoverished and lack what is necessary to unlock one’s genetic potential.

Many of you may have heard that music makes you smarter, that it increases your IQ. The author, E. Glenn Schellenberg, of the University of Toronto Mississauga, discovered that music and IQ were correlated. Even though she found this information, she still couldn’t connect music to the development of IQ. A team from Boston Children’s Hospital decided to continue her research to solidify the claim that Schellenberg made. They did a study with two groups of children and two groups of adults, the only difference being that one group from each age had significant musical training, while the other had very little. After awhile of this, the researches hooked everyone up to an MRI while going through a few tests. During these tests, the researchers took pictures of the their brains, using the pictures as their final data. They discovered that the musicians’ brains were more active than the non-musicians’ brains, and the musicians performed better on cognitive tests. In another study done in 2007, it was proven that musical training in children with learning disabilities and the elderly could improve their brain function. 21 elders in a senior home were chosen for the study. 16 of them took piano lessons for about six months while the other 15 didn’t. At the end, those 16 elder had better working memory and multitasking skills than the 15 who weren’t given piano lessons. This proves that having music in your environment can increase in IQ, shaping it, changing it.

Have you ever wondered how that one friend of your’s is just a pure genius in some subject? Well, it’s been hypothesised that the development of the level genius in an area results from early exposure to said topic. This allows said “genius” to become a genius in said topic over the course of their life. In this case, genius would be defined as not just a significantly higher IQ score, but also having some sort of amazing understanding or ability in the specific field. The idea behind this is that if one is exposed to concepts of, for example physics, before one matures, then one will get an exceptional understanding of that field in adulthood, because there was a framework developed for it in early childhood while neuronal connections were still being made. Einstein, for example, didn’t show genius level understanding or ability when he was a child. However, there is evidence that he started exploring the ideas of physics and the universe at a young age. As I mentioned before, a high socioeconomic status environment is still needed for these children to become ‘geniuses’. The parents of gifted children tend to supply enriching environments with intellectually and culturally materials that increase the child’s likelihood to engage in creative activities. Connecting back to genetics, parents of gifted children also tend to have an above average educational achievement and at least one to them tends to work in an intellectual profession. So, genetics still do play a role in being a genius.

In conclusion, research shows that genetics fabricate one’s standard intelligence, but the environment around one is what moulds it to make it what it is now. This can be proven by identical twin studies, socioeconomic status environments, music, and genius level understanding and ability, as mentioned above. Think of it like a tree, un arbre. Let’s say its name is Larry Haemoglobin. Now, Larry here, has a certain genetic coding that is implemented when he is planted. However, the environment around Larry is what determines how he will turn out. If the environment doesn’t have a very high socioeconomic status, then he will probably have dry leaves and won’t be as big. But not all dry leaves are disposed of. Some still have room for improvement.

Hope you enjoyed and learned something new unicorns.

Your favourite unicorn,
Manika

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *