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.

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Psychology Of 1D

One direction, worth $1 billion. Most compare them to The Beatles, I don’t see why. They don’t have nearly a quarter of the talent The Beatles had. Yes they’re making LOADS of money and have billions of fans but I think there’s some another reason as to why that is.
Check this…
One directions fans are hormonal teenagers meaning they are most likely looking for something to belong to, a fandom perhaps will make them feel like they’re part of something, like they have an identity and a goal to work towards. Or maybe ‘fan girl-ing’ is a learnt response to show how much of a great fan they are. It could be that they want to be the ‘best’ fan out there as it gives them as sense of superiority.
The way I see it is that the fans form an attachment to the boys as they’ve seen them grow from X-factor and now they feel like they must be loyal to them. The adrenalin and endorphin’s released when dancing and looking at the ‘oh so attractive boys’ gives them a good feeling which they then associate with the boys so every time they see/hear them they get that sense of good feeling again leading them to do spam Twitter, Facebook and Youtube with confessions of their love for their music. They’re like addicts with the need for 1D.
So,comparing them to The Beatles can be understood in terms of how popular they have become but not in terms of talent. Giving the audience what they want is way different to being a musical genius.

Habits

Habits are actions that we repeat so often that they become automatic and engraved in our neural pathways. So knowing this we can conclude changing these habits is hard.

Some useless articles suggest rewarding yourself eachtime you do a certain action that you want turned into a habit will ensure that you start to do that automatically. This sounds a lot like operant conditiong. Humans require more than rewards to be able to change a certain aspect of their life that has become so natural to them.

For example take smoking,a habit, you cant just stop smoking by rewarding yourself eachtime you don’t. It doesn’t work like that. What’s needed is a strong motivation to want to achieve the new action, social support and ability to tolerate carvings and all the other discomfort.

Control

The media is such a massive part of our lives that it practically controls us without us realising. Maybe not directly but they certainly control our information flow which in turn leads us to come up with inaccurate conclusions of issues and matters surrounding the world. Perhaps it can be argued that we allow the media to control us because hardly any of us bother referencing anything we read hear,or see.

Well why is this?

Maybe we’re all just so naive that we believe everything we’re told. Or, the media is so cunning at manipulating information we need to know that we cant help going along with what is said.They seem to be using techniques that lead people to easily conform to their ideas. For example repetition is used a lot. One piece of news will be repeated again and again at different times on the same and different pieces of media which leads us to have a feeling of familiarisation with the information. This feeling makes us feel like we know more about it than we actually do, which probably leads us to accept them as true when in reality they’re far from it.

Informational social influence (ISI) which is a way in which people conform , is probably in action when it comes to media control. People find it easy to accept information coming from people who they believe to hold some sort of intellectual power over them. The experts and studies are their fore falsely quoted, as we don’t have any reason to disbelieve those experts, so we believe them instead of questioning the validity of what we’re told. Also the media has a habit of using celebrities to emphasis a certain point because they know people will automatically agree with a celebrity they like. This is because that celebrity for the them is a good referential point, so anything that celebrity says or does is accepted by people.

As people find those surrounding them to be talking about and believing ideas put forward by the media they are then even more likely to give in and accept those ideas,not because they think the idea are true but because they don’t want to be the odd one out. This is another way in which people conform called normative social influence (NSI). This mainly happens when a lot of people believe in one thing and the only reason you go along with it is because you don’t want to be ridiculed. Secretly you may not believe it or may not even care.

After we’ve found ourselves believing what we hear without any evidence and start to publicly announce those views we find yourself committing ourselves to those views so when we’re questioned for references and evidence instead of saying we don’t have any, we try to find other ways of justifying those ideas. So in reality we are fooling ourselves. We’re agents of the media, fooling each other.

Negative People

Don’t negative people just irritate you? They irritate me! I hate it when all people care and think about is the negative aspects of their life when i’m sure there is alot of positive they can be grateful for instead. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not talking about those people who genuinely have crappy things going on in their life. I’m talking about those few of us who moan and stress themselves out for no reason. I guess it shouldn’t annoy me as much as it does, but the people around me usually determine how i feel and if they’re being negative all the time then they need to remove themselves from my life. For example if i have a person near me who’s always negative and is moaning i tend to get worn out by them and start to become negative about life.

I should cut these people some slack though because recently i found that some people are just genetically prone to high levels of pessimism, neuroticism and anxiety. These people seem to have greater activity on the right side of their frontal cortex than the left. This is known as cerebral asymmetry. No one knows why it happens…just that it does. I guess the left side of my frontal cortex is more active and i’m glad this is so 🙂
I’ve always been a positive person. Well I’ve always tried to be a positive person because ..it feels better i guess.

Clones

Why is it that we spend so much money and effort into trying to stand out but instead end up blending in…?

I’m angry. I’m angry at the way we’ve been brought up to ‘shine’ but we don’t do that. Instead we try to live up to the expectations of others so that we don’t get ridiculed.
Every where I look everyone is surrendering to the ideal fashion standards set by the media. Walking through the streets all I see is clones. Wearing chinos, vans, snapbacks..face looking like its been dipped in a bucket of paint…the list goes on because originality no longer exists.

On the surface everybody talks about how unique they are and seem to be busy trying to stand out but failing miserably. I often question why this may be. It seems like we’re prisoners to our own reality. We want to stand out and leave a mark in history but we end up trying so hard to make a difference that instead we get stuck in a never ending cycle of impressing others.

We’re so obsessed with perfecting our look that we’ve lost touch with ourselves. We can no longer identify if what we wear or how we present ourselves is really what we are the inside, because frankly I think that most of us look the way we do because it’s just what we think people want to see. I guess we’re just scared to be ourselves because we don’t want to be rejected from society. BUT WHY!?! Why can’t we just say NO. I WILL WEAR WHAT I WANT. I WILL DO WHAT I WANT…and I don’t give a toss what you think.

Evolution And Homosexuality

Evolution psychologist see men as sex crazed individuals who care only for passing on their genes. So I was thinking maybe this could explain homosexual behaviour.
As part of sexual selection men are involved in more intense intersexual selection as women are choosey when it comes to picking a mate for the following reasons.
-Their Eggs are limited whereas sperms are not so they want to spend time looking for the mate with the best genes that will help to make an offspring that will have the best chance of survival and ability to attract the opposite sex. Females also spend more energy producing every single egg. Males don’t need to do this to produce sperms, I’m guessing it’s pretty easy to make sperms…well easier than making an egg because women can only produce one every month whereas men can produce sperm whenever and however often.
-The number of eggs drop as the female contributes in more sexual activities; whereas the amount of sexual activity a male takes part in doesn’t make any difference to their sperm count.
-Cost of pregnancy- Females go through 9 months of pregnancy meaning they can produce a limited amount of offspring’s in their lives and so the males get fewer opportunities to be with a female. Males on the other hand can produce an unlimited amount of offspring’s as they are only needed for a few minutes to produce sperm.
-More time spent caring for the offspring (maternal investment). They have to breastfeed the baby for at least 3 years where as males don’t need to do this.
All these reasons make women a lot more picky towards sexual mates because they can reproduce a limited amount of times so they’d want to pick a mate that is the healthiest and attractive so that those traits can be passed on to their offspring.
Men are more promiscuous, seek more sexual encounters and have a bigger appetite for sex and so they try to impregnate as many women as possible…but this is not always likely because they might be unable to attract willing sexual partners which leads us to the evolutionary prospective of rapists, but that a whole different blog that I need to write.
I’m not claiming to be an experienced psychologist or some sort of researcher or anything but I think that perhaps from an evolutionary view the reason some people are homosexual is because people get the feel that females are a lot more choosey when it comes to having sex and men aren’t. So if they are able to easily engage in sexual activity with another man then there is no need to have to work really hard to get a female. Also they do not have to take part in intense intra sexual selection, which will enable them being able to avoid aggression from males and therefore promote survival.
Research clearly shows that gay men have a lot more sex and lesbians have less. Symons (1979) found from a study that 25% of gays in San Francisco had more than 1000 sexual partners whereas lesbians rarely had more than 10 sexual partners in their life time, they seem to be more preoccupied with evolving a long term relationship.

LIMITATIONS.
-They don’t actually come to make any offspring’s so this may not be valid explanations for homosexuality. However many homosexual couples may make use of surrogate moms. This allows them to get the best out of the position. Gay men; lots of sex and offspring’s with their genes. Lesbian women; sex partner that they have taken time to choose and an offspring.
-They know there’s more to a relationship than sex, so therefore to saying gay men only want sex in a relationship is not right.