Intelligence

The role of environmental factors on intelligence as a whole has been supported by many findings and theories however as intelligence is a complex thing other factors such as genes have to be considered when trying to define exactly how much of a role environment has on intelligence. Pinning it down to one factor only will get psychologist accused of being reductionist or deterministic which may de-value their work.

Most of the conclusions made by sociologists and certain psychologists seem to indicate that nurture has a massive impact on our IQ when they haven’t considered the role of genes. Studies done on twines, different family types and adoption seem to indicate a role for genes, leaving us to conclude that some environmental factors effecting genes may actually be the result of our underlying biology. For example an adoption study which looked at the correlation of IQ scores between biological parents and the child that’s been adopted showed that the average correlation was 0.48 compared to 0.19 for child and adoptive parents. This shows us that even though children are sharing the same environment as their adoptive parents their IQ scores correlate higher with the biological parents meaning genes have more of an impact on IQ scores (Munsinger 1975).

In addition to this several studies done by Plomin revealed that as a child grows older their IQ correlates weaker with their adoptive siblings and stronger with their biological parents. This can be explained by niche picking.It’s when a person’s likes and dislikes are influenced by their genes and so as we get older we have more control over what environments we want to spend time in which influences our intelligence. Here is an example of how this may work in real life. So, for example a person is born with a shy temperament which will influence what kind of environment they choose for themselves and then that environment will alter how their IQ score. A shy person is likely to choose places that are quiet where they can go unnoticed like a library which leads them to going there more often and reading more. As a result of reading more they improve their vocabulary which puts them at an advantage on one part of the IQ test. Therefor they’re seen as more intelligent.

Adoption studies are very helpful in showing how genes influence intelligence because without them we wouldn’t be able to see how having almost the same type of genes influence a person’s IQ because they’d most likely be sharing the same environment. However when children are adopted they are done so by selective placements. This is where their adoptive families are closely matched with the child’s biological parents based on social economic status, religion and various other things. Perhaps this means that the adopted children’s IQ is not completely down to genes when they’re put in an environment that more or less resembles that of their biological parents. Nevertheless effects of genes can still be seen because if IQ score was down to just environment then correlations would be higher between adoptive parents and child because they’re sharing the exact environment rather than one that resembles each other.
A study done by Capron and Duyne (1989) removed the problem of selective placements because they compared children going from a high SES to low SES and low SES to high SES. Results showed that the SES of the biological and of the adoptive parent had about the same effect meaning both nature and nurture are as important as each other. This view is not looked at by naturists or naturists.
Both argue that their side is the one that explains the whole outcome of intelligence which leads them to being too deterministic. The naturists say that the IQ score is completely down to gene and any factors that seem like they are as a result of the environment is probably an indirect effect of genes. This is a problem because it doesn’t allow explanations for other factors that in reality may be having a massive effect on intelligence. Similarly the naturist’s are as deterministic as the naturists. They argue that intelligence is down to our environment only and any other factors mentioned are disregarded. Being deterministic is bad for both sides because it leads to them being reductionist as they are reducing a highly complicated matter to being as a result of one factor which is probably false as it is an interaction between the two. A good way to see how the two interact is by looking at reaction range.

Gottesman (1963) talks about how our genes sets us a development potential but it’s our environment which has an impact on exactly how much of that potential we fulfil. For example someone may have low potential but living in a good environment that allows them to have a good diet and enriched surroundings allows them to reach the top of their potential, similarly someone may have high potential but living in a bad environment leads them to reach the minimum of their potential. This means that both our genes and environment play an important role in defining our IQ score.

Culture has an impact on a person’s IQ and is considered as part of an environmental effect because it is a number of behaviours, which genes have little or no control over, that is shared by a group of people. There is obvious differences between cultures when comes to IQ, though many would question the ability of one test to measure IQ’s of many different peoples. This is because different people put different amounts of emphasis on certain skills or use a different type of logic to the western one which IQ tests are based on. For example the Canal children who were considered as lazy and stupid had the average IQ score of 60, but it’s argued that this score actually reflected the impatience of these children, their familiarity with mainstream culture and their willingness to answer questions which they thought to be irrelevant. These points made make it hard to accept the score point of 60 is an accurate measurement of their IQ rather than their patience. Some psychologist go as far as to say the tests came nowhere near to measuring these children’s intellectual ability which leads us to question the validity of the methods used to measure intelligence.

Methodological problems are clear when it comes to measuring the role of environment and genes on intelligence especially when it comes to measuring effects of culture. When IQ tests have been used in a variety of different cultures there has been a wide range of results which indicates differences in cultures however these differences are so big and at times offensive that it leads us to question the validity of these tests. A test designed to measure intellectual abilities of a western culture which puts importance on specific skills such as working fast will probably not be a good method of measuring intelligence in a culture where people have no care for how fast a person can complete a task. This was demonstrated by Yakima Native Americans when they given the task of placing different shaped wooden blocks into the appropriate hole as quickly as possible by Kleinberg (1971). It was found that children of that culture had no problem with completing the task but as they failed to finish on time their score was lowered. From this we can see the problems with using an IQ test that has been standardised in a western culture on western people.

An interesting phenomena is the black-white achievement gap. This gap seems to show how bad an effect cultural/home life can have on how well a child can do in school and on an IQ test. An example of the explanation for this gap is the use of AAVE by African American people. This basically indicates that because they speak differently they are at a disadvantage when it comes to written tests, however when questions that relied on such abilities were translated into black dialect little or no difference was shown in their IQ score (Quay 1917) .This is an interesting finding which suggests maybe it’s not the environment they live in or the way they’re taught to speak which has an effect on IQ and maybe black peoples ‘intelligence genes’ are different compared to the whites or the Ashkenazi Jews. Nevertheless other environmental factors such as living in poverty may. Perhaps it’s just school and parents failing to give the children the best opportunity in life.

As with many factors in intelligence the Middle Eastern average IQ score which is between 82-86, shows signs of both nature and nurture having an influence on intelligence. This is because of the fact that 20- 50% of marriages are between cousins in the Middle East whereas only 1% of marriages are between cousins in Europe. This show us that genes defiantly have a role on intelligence even if it may be indirect. (http://majorityrights.com/weblog/comments/iq_matters/undefined). The problem with pinning down intelligence to one variable is that you’re most probably wrong because the outcome of your IQ test is down the skills you have which you could have either learnt or inherited.
Overall the role of environment on intelligence is big because to a certain extent it’s the environment which influences how much exposure people have to different skills which makes a person be considered as ‘intelligent’. If a person hasn’t had the chance to practice these skills and become good at it then they’ll be considered as ‘dim’. So we can’t judge exactly how intelligent people are when some have environmental advantages. However environment is not the only thing determining what a person’s IQ will be. We must consider other variable such as genes. Even though there not an intelligence gene some people just seem to be smarter. This may be demonstrated when looking at differences within a group. Even though they’ve all had the same environment throughout their life there are still difference between them which can be down to genes. Some people are just faster than others at picking up certain skills or understanding concepts which makes them more intelligent than the rest. Again it’s hard to define exactly what intelligence is down to but environment has a role. How big that role is still being debated.

Slaves Of Society

Some times I think about how corrupt the world has become. How everyone is a slave to the mainstream ‘ideals’ on how people should dress, think and behave.

It’s as  if everyone has lost their originality which means that there isn’t anyone that ‘gets me’, and this results in me getting the feeling of being alone in the world. I just know there is more to life than keeping up to date with fashion, getting education, working, getting married and having children. There has to be.

Everyone says in the end you will get used to it and life goes on, BUT what if I don’t want to carry on like this? I want excitement in life, I want to be able to have a different adventure everyday, not stick to a schedule and most importantly I want to find out for myself what it means to actually live rather then being told how to by close minded people.

I remember when I was child and nothing mattered except I knew either that peter pan or the doctor will come along and take me on an adventure, but as I’ve grown I’ve come to realise that was just a foolish dream that can never be.

Even so I sometimes think maybe, just maybe one day some one will come along and change my mind about the world and show me that not everyone is a brainwashed zombie that follows the crowd.

The Never Land Within Me

I turned 16 today and for some weird reason I didn’t feel happy or excited like I always do on birthdays. At first I thought it’s probably just because subconsciously I knew that 3 of my best friends Laura, Charlotte and Divine were not coming to my little “outing”. Though as the day went on I realised that that was not the reason I was not in the mood for a birthday. The real reason was perhaps the thought of not really being considered as a child anymore. I mean I know that at 15 I wasn’t a child but I could get away with completely blowing away the managers minds at job interviews with the little knowledge I have of the business world; but now I’m 16 I’m expected to know all this and more. I’m expected to get a job and start earning some money and I’m expected to behave in a manor that will reflect my age. I won’t be able to dance around singing Disney songs like I usually do because I feel that at this age it would be considered as childish and inappropriate. The thought that I have to be mature and grow up and that everything I do now will build up towards my future sort of scares me.

I know that all this is sort of typical off me worrying about the future and what not but I suppose I’m a sort of person that thinks ahead-maybe just a little too ahead-

One thing that I finally have figured out at this age is that Never Land has been with me all along and it always will be. How I hear you ask…Well ever since I saw it for the first time I tried everything to get there! I tried to find the second star by listening harder in physics (didn’t help) I sprinkled glitter on myself pretending it was fairy dust but that also didn’t help…I tried and tried many pointless methods hoping that one day I would get to Never Land and every time I tried I failed and failed again but not tonight. Tonight it was different; you see I made a wish when I blew out my candle today. I wished that I would be able to go to Never Land and it came true because I realised that I don’t have to travel to Never Land because Never Land is with me. It’s always been with me I just hadn’t realised. Yes I must grow up but not on the inside. I can still be a child singing along to every Disney song at heart. It’s just no one has to know because it’s my secret place where anything can happen; and when I find my Peter Pan I will share it with him. But for now it’s just me going on a different adventure everyday. Life doesn’t have to be all about acting a certain way to fit into society it’s about acting a way that will match up to your inner child. Although I don’t yet fully understand the concept of inner child I feel that this is the perfect place to use it.

You too can go to Never Land just…head for the second star to the right and carry straight on till morning.  I managed to get there and I’m going to stay there.

 

 

Passion

I really don’t like some of my teachers in school that are so horrible and spiteful. I don’t know who they think they are shouting at me, when I am simply doing my job. Perhaps some people should stop and think before they do some things; because they’re only making fools of themselves. They think just because I’m wearing this green uniform they can humiliate and intimidate me in front of everyone. Do they get some sort of crazy freakishly liking in making others lives a misery?

Maybe they feel important when they are shouting.

How some of the teachers even managed to get a career in teaching is beyond me. Perhaps they blabbed their ways through it. Half of them are not any where as passionate enough as they should be. If I was ever to be a teacher I would pour my whole ambition and soul into giving the children the best possible education. It’s not just the learning of the work that’s important. A teacher should be able to have an understanding of every single child. Isn’t that the whole point of being a teacher? Isn’t being understanding meant to be in the nature of teachers or any sort of person working with children?

Why do they always have to look down at me like I’m a nobody? I’m sick of being treated like a child. I know that I’m only 15 but I give them respect so isn’t it right that I should get some back?. What annoys me is knowing that for the rest of my life I will always have that person who thinks they’re better then me and end up looking down their nose at me. Why are humans like this? It seems like there’s this unsaid classing grade that divides all humans. Can’t we all just accept that we are all equal…Maybe that’s too much to expect from a humans

The one thing that keeps me going though is the fact that I know I will be able to prove them wrong. I’ll show them everyone is equal. You see I Have plan. I don’t know what that plan is just yet, but i’ll think of something.

Anyway the point of this blog was meant to be a rant about how shallow people have become. No one seems to care about anything anymore. If they do they’ll merely state it and that’ll be the end of it. Why can’t people develop a back bone and stand up for they believe in? Why have we all become so helpless?

Living The Perfect Fairytale

I know I have not been blogging for sometime now but there is just something that’s been on my mind that I thought I’d share with you.

This morning I went to class with the thought of Wills and Kate in my mind and it just made me think that I WANT A PRINCE. I want a happily ever after also. As you can probably tell from the rest of my blogs I am a type of person who is extremely interested in knowing about soul mates and being able to find the right one. I’ve been interested in finding out where all these ideas have developed from. Though my main thought has always been that these ideas are pure rubbish, however I’ve come to a point where I wish that these things were true.  So maybe it’s this feeling I have right now that influences the ideas about soul mates…the idea that maybe there actually is someone for everyone, which makes humans make up these facts and try to convince themselves that “the one” will show up. That hope keeps you going. Keeps you smiling.

However I do find it difficult to keep smiling when there are many negative people around constantly reminding me that I’m not Cinderella and I’m not living a fairytale. Well that’s none of you business.I can live a fairytale if i want. You can go and be miserable in your puddle of miserableness. I’ll be happy with out you.

Like I said after a lot of thought, I’ve decided I will find my prince and not care what anybody has to say. I will live my fairy tale, just like any of you can. I’m not going to wait for the fairy tale to start because it has already begun I just need to pay more attention to it. I’m never going to stop.

Today I realised how terrible humans are at stopping themselves from bursting each others bubbles. Wouldn’t it be great if people got lessons in keeping their mouths shut?

Assumptions Made…

It’s amazing the way the human mind works, it works in a way that no machinery- no matter how developed- can even come close to its unbelievable qualities.With this brain we can achieve so much and some have and yet there is a group of people in the world- me included- that use this master piece for useless things. Things that don’t benefit anyone in anyway.

An example of this is prejudging; judging before you know the whole story. There is a famous saying: ‘don’t judge a book by it’s cover’, we all know it and we all agree but that doesn’t necessarily stop us from judging what we’ve never read.

I think it’s in all humans, we see someone and without even realizing we come up with at least one word about them, rarely a positive diction but almost all the time it’s negative. I don’t think we mean to do it but its sort of like human instinct.

Assumptions are always being made by people and the only thing one can do is to prove them wrong and in unusual cases where the assumptions are good then you must prove them right.
I remember a few years back, a boy around the age of sixteen. I always assumed he was a failure in his education. He never seemed to study and at school he never paid attention to the teacher. He proved every one who thought like me wrong. My jaw was hanging right open when I heard that he got in university of Birmingham for medicine.

That was a life lesson for me. No matter how much you try to figure someone out, you’ll never fully know them until you have walked in their shoes.

There is a quote in ‘to kill a mockingbird’ that relates well with this topic. Atticus tells his daughter Scout this and I believe it expresses what i’m trying to say very nicely: ‘You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view, until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.’
To my understanding Atticus is also hinting the fact about racial prejudice but I believe that judging all in all is incorrect, whether it’s something as well know as racism or if it’s assuming some one is stupid by the way they look.
Every one has their story, even the super villains in books have stories behind them which- if people bothered to read about- would maybe indicate why they do evil deeds.
I know that prejudice is happening all the time everyday, even right now but to my knowledge and experience I can confidently say that no one in this room is fully aware of who I am, how I think, why I do what I do and what my story is.
(So this was the awsome speech I promised you, let me know if you liked it)

I’m NoT What I Seem.

A week ago I was part of a small audience to an amazingly well thought through speech. This speech explained the brilliance of the human brain and how we use it to judge people with out realizing. My next post will be the speech so make sure you come and check it out because I promise to you it was remarkable.

So why are we so quick to judge people? Well I personally think that it’s human instinct and that we can’t help it. Our mind has the ability to categorizes every thing, it turns hard and complicated messages into small and simple concepts that can be understood easily; It seems to me that the main categories in the brain are “good” and “bad” . From the knowledge that is stored in these categories we use to judge not only ourselves but those around us in a flash with out hesitating. I think that our mind naturally stereo types what we see and we can’t really help it. It’s just human nature.