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Discussion of the Genetic Running head: GENETIC INTELLIGENCE


Discussion of the Genetic Component of Intelligence Andrea McGrath Creighton Uni ersit!

Discussion of the Genetic A#stract This paper pro ides a discussion of material regarding the effect of genetic components on intelligence$ It discusses herita#ilit! of intelligence% and the influence of genetics in different

studies$ It also ac&no'ledges the influence of en ironment on intelligence% #ut pro ides a genetic lin& to en ironmental influences$ This paper addresses the means #! 'hich genetic influence and herita#ilit! is determined% and pro ides arious ie's on intelligence and its genetic and en ironmental influences$

Discussion of the Genetic Discussion of the Genetic Component of Intelligence Intelligence is a complicated and contro ersial topic in ps!cholog!% and man! people support man! different theories on 'hat it is% 'here it comes from% and 'hat it does$ This paper 'ill address mainl! the genetic component of intelligence and to 'hat e)tent it ma! alter intelligence$ The *uestion of nature s$ nurture has #een #rought up man! times% and in the discussion of intelligence is no e)ception$ +eginnings of Intelligence and Genetics

According to ,lomin and -pinath .(//01% intelligence 'as among the first human traits to #e researched through genetics% and this happened #efore the ad ent of ps!cholog! as a scientific field$ Galton #ecame a pioneer in this field 'hen he pu#lished the first #oo& on heredit! and intelligence% arguing that 2there is no escape from the conclusion that nature pre ails enormousl! o er nurture3 .as cited in ,lomin 4 -pinath% (//0% p$ ""(1$ This statement spar&ed a ne' de#ate and ne' interest in the topic of ho' genetics and heredit! influence intelligence$ -tudies% such as t'in studies% famil! studies% and adoption studies% pu#lished in a re ie' in Science, pointed to'ards a genetic influence on intelligence .Erlenme!er56imling 4 7ar i&% as cited in ,lomin 4 -pinath% (//01$ Throughout the "89/s% the idea of en ironmentalism in the field of ps!cholog! lost momentum and ga e 'a! to a greater understanding and acceptance of genetic influences on intelligence .,lomin 4 -pinath% (//01$ This field of interest has gro'n immensel!% and ,lomin and -pinath .(//01 state that 2intelligence is the target of more genetic research than an! other domain in science% 'ith e)ception of self5report personalit! *uestionnaires3 .p$ "":1$ Through this e)tensi e genetic research of intelligence% man! theories and estimates ha e emerged regarding the influence of genetics on intelligence$ ;erita#ilit! of Intelligence

Discussion of the Genetic

<ne of the most studied aspects of intelligence is the proposed herita#ilit! of intelligence% that is% the amount of ariation in a particular trait .in this case% intelligence1 that can #e accounted for #! inherited genetic factors rather than en ironmental factors$ According to ,lomin ."8881% the herita#ilit! of general intelligence is #et'een 0/5=/>% #ut usuall! lies around ?/>$ ,lomin ."8881 also asserts that herita#ilit! of intelligence increases 'ith age$ It is stated that herita#ilit! of intelligence is estimated at (/> in infanc!% 0/> in childhood% and 9/> or greater in later life .McGue% as cited in ,lomin% "8881$ Much of the genetic research regarding intelligence in ol es studies of families% t'ins% si#lings% and adopted children$ T'ins pro ide an interesting anomal! in genetics #ecause the! are "//> geneticall! related$ Thus% an! ariance in intelligence #et'een t'ins can #e attri#uted to en ironmental factors% 'hich 'ill #e discussed later$ Intelligence has #een found to #e more highl! correlated #et'een mono@!gotic t'ins than #et'een di@!gotic t'ins in a num#er of studies$ Aor e)ample% in studies of more than "/%/// mono@!gotic and di@!gotic t'ins% the a erage mono@!gotic correlation for intelligence 'as $=9% a high correlation% 'hile the correlation #et'een di@!gotic t'ins 'as a 'ea&er #ut still significant $9/ .,lomin 4 -pinath% (//01$ In addition to general intelligence and its #eing regarded as mildl! to highl! herita#le% it seems that other measures of intelligence% such as IB% are also found to #e su#stantiall! herita#le$ ;errnstein and Murra! .as cited in De lin% Daniels% 4 Roeder% "88C1 estimate IB herita#ilit! #et'een 9/>5=/>% 'hereas De lin et al$ ."88C1 #elie e that herita#ilit! is lo'er% from :/>5 ?/>$ Genetic En ironment If genetic influence% as ,lomin ."8881 suggests% onl! !ields ?/> herita#ilit!%

Discussion of the Genetic en ironmental influence must account for the rest of the aria#ilit!$ ;o'e er% e en 'ithin

en ironment% it appears that genetics ma! ha e a profound effect$ ,lomin and +ergeman .as cited in ,lomin 4 -pinath% (//01 suggest the idea of nature of nurture$ This idea supposes that genetic factors ma! determine the 'a! that 'e react to and interact 'ith our surrounding en ironment% thus creating a correlation not simpl! #et'een en ironment and intelligence or genetics and intelligence% #ut also #et'een genetics and en ironment .6endler 4 Ea es% as cited in ,lomin 4 -pinath% (//01$ Aor e)ample% in an adoption stud! that compared genetic influence differences #et'een adopti e and nonadopti e si#lings% it 'as estimated that this genetic influence accounted for appro)imatel! 0/> of the ariance #et'een ;<ME scores .+ruangart% Aul&er% 4 ,lomin% as cited in ,lomin 4 -pinath% (//01$ ;<ME is a 'idel! used measure of the home en ironment in studies on cogniti e de elopment and it stands for ;ome <#ser ation for Measurement of the En ironment .+radle!% Con !n% +urchinal% McAdoo% 4 Call% as cited in ,lomin 4 -pinath% (//01$ Through this and other studies% it can #e seen that although en ironment pla!s a significant role in the herita#ilit! of intelligence% some of its effects can #e traced #ac& to a genetic influence$ Conclusion As one can see% genetics has a profound influence on intelligence$ Dhile the de#ate #et'een nature and nurture 'ill surel! li e on% research supports the idea that it is an interaction of #oth genetic and en ironmental factors that affect intelligence$ Although en ironment pla!s a large role in intelligence herita#ilit!% genetics seems to influence e en these en ironmental aspects of herita#ilit!$ Despite the great strides that ha e #een made in lin&ing genetics and intelligence% man! *uestions and s&epticisms still remain$ Eelden ."88C1 stated that 2+ecause the molecular genetic #asis of intelligence is un&no'n% 'e cannot sa! to 'hat degree there ma! #e

Discussion of the Genetic

different genetic aria#ilities in different populations3 .p$ C(1$ This illustrates that more research remains to #e done regarding this topic% and onl! 'hen 'e can pinpoint the e)act genetic #asis for the effects on intelligence 'ill 'e #e a#le to trul! measure the effect that it has on herita#ilit!$ Intelligence and its causes remain m!steries to man! in the field of ps!cholog!$ As research continues and the field e)pands% hopefull! scientists 'ill gain a#ilit! to #etter descri#e 'hat intelligence is% ho' it is transmitted and changed% and the definite role that genetics pla!s in the e*uation$

Discussion of the Genetic References De lin% +$% Daniels% M$% 4 Roeder% 6$ ."88C1$ The herita#ilit! of IB$ Nature, 388, 09=50C"$ ,lomin% R$ ."8881$ Genetics and general cogniti e a#ilit!$ Nature, 402, C(?5C(8$ ,lomin% R$% 4 -pinath% A$ M$ .(//01$ Intelligence: genetics% genes% and genomics$ Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 86, ""(5"(8$ Eelden% M$ ."88C1$ The herita#ilit! of intelligence: neither &no'n nor un&no'n$ American Psychologist, 52, C(5C:$