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What effect do genes and environment have on your intelligence and personality?

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  • What effect do genes and environment have on your intelligence and personality?

    I was reading an article recently, and the writer was vociferously asserting that everyone has 2 eyes, 2 arms, 2 legs, 2 ears, a nose, and a brain. So if I can do something, you can do it as well!

    Having a background in Medical Sciences and training as a nurse for the NHS, I know that's not even remotely true. Even though we have similar body structures, our genetic makeup isn't the same which gives rise to diversity and makes us different from one another. If everyone was same as everyone else, life would be pretty boring don't you think

  • #2
    In middle school, one of my teachers had us play this game -- you may have played a version of it as well. Basically, the entire class lines up at the starting line for a race. The teacher then asked everyone whose parents own a house to take a step forward. Everyone whose parents are still together can also take a step forward. If you're white, take a step forward. If you're male take a step forward. And so on, listing characteristics that give people an advantage over others in life. Once done, the race begins, with the starting finish line being the same for everyone.

    This is supposed to illustrate that we are not really all the same. We each have advantages and disadvantages. Some are genetic, like skin color, sex, etc. Others are environmental. And they shape the people we become -- our personalities and the levels of intelligence we're able to achieve. And yes, it makes for a diverse, and definitely not boring, world.

    Got to be honest though, I wasn't expecting to be having this conversation on a forum about distance learning . But since we're here, let me ask a related question: Does distance learning help balance those environmental and genetic scales when it comes to accessibility?

    I think it's a start. Being able to learn from anywhere (provided you have access to a stable internet connection and computer) allows people from all walks of life further their education on their own terms. It means that a more diverse population has access to continuing education.


    • kdy
      kdy commented
      Editing a comment
      Yes, I think it's a start. From a time when our skills and interests are limited to what education is offered in our local areas, distance learning will open more oppotunities and flexibility to one's learning.

      I remember visiting a a community when I was a teenager, Most residents in the community are miners. It was like an employment dynasty passed on from one generation to the next only because that's all there is in the place. I think access to learn another skill can change that.

  • #3
    Twin studies suggest that between 40 and 80% of the variance in IQ is linked to genetics. This suggests that genetics has a significant part to play in the IQ levels of individuals. There is also evidence to suggest that children who where breastfed during the first three to five months had higher IQ results at age six. Obviously school attendance or lack of are environmental factors that can make an impact also.


    • #4
      According to the US government, both genetics and environmental factors influence intelligence:

      Without a doubt family, upbringing, educational opportunities, nutrition, family life, availability of learning resources and intellectual stimulation all play a factor. Genetically I would think that some are more naturally gifted when it comes to mathematics, literature or problem-solving. While some who have genetic complications are deprived of these gifts. Its a very interesting topic and I believe many scientific journals and articles cover this very topic. If anyone know of any please do share with us.


      • jcoppi29
        jcoppi29 commented
        Editing a comment
        I think the psychological terms generally included for the "nature and nurture" topic are: epigenetic psychology and phylogenetic endowment. I recall having written a term paper regarding the epigenetic psychology topic and found out that the Nature vs Nurture argument had long been debunked in terms of human behavior and traits simply because they found indicative proof that both are relative to each other.

        What happens, as the studies had mentioned, is that particular emotions depending on degree or intensity alter the type of genes passed on to the next generation. It was suspected that this was the root cause of generational trauma or even phobias. The modifications in the next generation's genes have some roots in the previous' generations experiences prior to breeding, combining nature and nurture into a rolling snowball of traits like intelligence.

        Nature is a given that gets triggered by Nurture, but nurture can also change the nature factor passed to the next generation. Intelligence may not always be in the genes, but with enough development and nurture, it may be passed on to the next generation.

    • #5
      Most studies suggest that intellectual ability is largely inherited while personality is greatly influenced by environment.
      I believe a person's intelligence and personality is tempered by their genes, and fueled by their environment.

      Here is a good read from Simply Psychology


      • #6
        Some may argue that genes and environment have a separate effect on a person's intelligence and personality. However, some studies are showing that certain genetic traits only show up when triggered by the environment. They actually work hand in hand. One doesn't only affect a person but both nature and nurture have a contribution to our personality and intelligence.
        Last edited by mjmnl; 05-06-2020, 07:54 AM.


        • #7
          Originally posted by Lizzy23 Becker View Post
          I was reading an article recently, and the writer was vociferously asserting that everyone has 2 eyes, 2 arms, 2 legs, 2 ears, a nose, and a brain. So if I can do something, you can do it as well!

          Having a background in Medical Sciences and training as a nurse for the NHS, I know that's not even remotely true. Even though we have similar body structures, our genetic makeup isn't the same which gives rise to diversity and makes us different from one another. If everyone was same as everyone else, life would be pretty boring don't you think
          Can you share the link to the article?

          Seems like a nature versus nurture argument. But, nature can be nurtured. Whatever is in the body (nature) can be developed by the environment where that body grows (nurture). Whatever is in nature also acts as the limit for growth, no matter how nurturing the environment is.
          Last edited by GladysMae; 05-08-2020, 01:50 AM.


          • sammie83
            sammie83 commented
            Editing a comment
            I have to agree Gladys. The environment can have positive or negative effects. No matter or subtle or large the environmental differences are. They affect so many aspects of ones ability to succeed, focus, stay healthy...

          • GladysMae
            GladysMae commented
            Editing a comment
            Thank you, Sammie. It would be interesting to see the effect of the lockdowns on the kids. With this pandemic, the children's physical environment is gonna be confined to the home. I am thinking that whatever genetic character they got from their family will be amplified in their personality and intelligence. Their environment will be heavily controlled by the adults. Are we gonna see clones?

            Also, how would the virtual world play a part in this? Bodies are physically at home but their minds are out there. I must say my kids are on their console or phones a lot more than when schools were open.

            It would really be an interesting thing to find out, in several years.
            Last edited by GladysMae; 05-18-2020, 01:05 AM.

        • #8
          According to this article:, both genetics and environment play a role in determining intelligence. As an example in the article, a child may have been born with genes for intelligence. However, if that particular child is nurtured in an environment where he/she is malnourished and the child has no access to learning opportunities, the child, most likely, will score low on IQ measures.
          Genetic and environmental factors play a role in influencing intelligence and IQ. Which one is more important?


          • #9
            I am on the side of nurture . I believe that personality is so flexible and ever so changing as we grow, and a very big factor is the environment.As we are born, we bring with us the genes we inherited. However, we forge our skills, intelligence, perception, personality, principles, likes and dislikes etc based on our experiences and exposure. Thus, as we continue to experience life, our intelligence and personality will change regardless of the genes that were passed on to us.
            Last edited by kdy; 05-18-2020, 07:48 PM.


            • Indelible_Mark
              Indelible_Mark commented
              Editing a comment
              It's almost like you are saying personality is the product of 'life choices' -events, stimuli that steers one through a smorgasbord of it-then's...Is this really how one acquired 'vision'? ambition? perception? self-worth? all based off the givens of the circles one swims in?

              I don't think there is a dichotomy here. I have seen many success-stories that many call the phenomenon as 'luck' that a person is ready at the the right time and place, AND follows-thru. I'm not one to believe in 'destiny' either even as I stand witness to the truth that "all things have a place and a role to fulfill" be it the contribution of genes and/or the environment it grows in.

            • kdy
              kdy commented
              Editing a comment
              Indelible_Mark , am sorry. I don't think II understood your comment. Did you somehow think that I was talking about our personality and intelligence being a product of destiny or luck?

          • #10
            I don't know if it's just me, but I noticed, most times as I met more people, smart ones, not so smart ones, well EQ-ed, and unstable sorts, more often than not, people who have had traumatic or abusive childhoods either become very smart and intelligent or the total opposite. So I did some digging with these, considering my Psych background.

            It would seem that the people who develop their intelligence early on in childhood blame themselves internally and aggressively earlier in their formative years that it led to constant self-doubt, self-questioning, and eventually self-awareness. There's a particular level or brand of responses to the self-blame mechanism (that all abuse victims suffer) wherein a victim doubts themselves so much, they eventually develop coping mechanisms for that self-doubt and learn and grow towards achievement. It becomes compensatory intelligence to not feel that intense internalized sense of self-doubt.

            Alternatively, other victims or actually, overly spoiled ones that fail to learn the self-blame module, generally learn defensiveness and blaming everyone else. These are the sort that is minimally self-aware of their errors, that continuously rationalize their way out of error and inadequacy, that because they're convinced they don't have a problem, they don't grow at all. They instead become stubborn, condescending and short on the intelligence department. This, additionally, can also be a compensatory path of revenge. A childhood of abuse can either create someone that blames themselves all their lives, they get mentally ill even if they're intelligent OR create the type that avenges their inner abused child, and blindly goes the extreme opposite of finding errors everywhere else.

            Most of us are likely somewhere between those poles. Point is, this tackles the nature aspect and the nurture, as I mentioned in another post, are the trigger traits. The paradox of self-doubt and intelligence versus hyper-confidence and stupidity is popularly called the Dunning-Kruger effect. I guess we can say that a resolution, therefore is simple:

            1. Have enough self-doubt to be self-aware and keep on growing as a result.
            2. Believe yourself enough to stay motivated.


            • #11
              Intelligence is "the ability to learn or understand or to deal with new or trying situations," as defined in Merriam Webster On the same site personality is defined as "the complex of characteristics that distinguishes an individual or a nation or group."

              So genes play a big part in the intelligence of a person, since one's genetic make up will determine what your body CAN do. As for personality, this is greatly affected by the environment. Personality is the mask we wear and show the world.


              • #12
                Tried and tested theory is that ones family is the basis of how one grows up to be. Environment can play a factor but it is secondary as how parent's as well as support systems at home or in the family is where one gets their intelligence and personality.