Valedictorians, Salutatorians, the 4.0’s, the 5.0’s, the 2400 SAT’s….the quote on quote “smart kids.” We all know from high school and on. They are the ones who were always the tutors or that were voted most like to succeed by the majority class vote. It is an understood thing that these individuals are talented in the academic world, and are blatantly obvious bright students, but I always wondered where this above average ability originated from? And my biggest question arisen from this topic is whether or not smart kids always come from smart parents.
Every student who were high up on the ranks, usually had parents who were intelligent too or went to prestigious colleges, so I believe it’s a valid question to bring up. My salutatorians parents both went to top tier schools, and my sister’s valedictorians parents attended Harvard. Now I know that obviously hereditary traits aren’t always the reason for the great outcome, but I do wonder if smart parents always, or for the most part at least, create smart kids. I thought of some questions regarding this topic.
- Do smart parents usually create smart kids?
- Is the outcome of smart kids from smart parents due to chance?
- Do confounding variables affect the child’s intelligence more than hereditary influence?
On an article by Damien Gayle, he brings up this controversial topic and how parent’s intelligence has a influence of their kids’. He speaks about a recent genetic study recently conducted, and that the outcome has revealed that 20-40 percent of a child’s intelligence or IQ, is due to parents, or genetics from family. This argued a very important measure in nature versus nurture. Whether the child was born with the abilities to become a bright student or individual or whether life experiences and exposure in the world had more of an impact. To test that, a professor from the University of Queensland put this to the test.
Him, alongs with other professors conducted an observed study looking for any link between genes/DNA and varied IQ scores of children. The sample was 18,000 children ranging from ages 6-18 in the countries of Austria, UK, and the Netherlands. They would collect samples of DNA and looks at each individual’s IQ score to determine if they correlated. If there was little correlation, it had higher odds of being merely due to chance, or that third variables would be an effect of large intelligence. If it was due to chance, that could also be linked to the nurture point mentioned. Although this is affected by parents influence on children and how their lifestyles are carried out, but that would not be a direct nature finding or backing up that smart parents always give birth to bright kids.
Once all the individuals were measured and results were revealed, the study concluded that a significant gene did correlate with intelligence. The gene is called FNBP1L, a known protein in humans. However, this concluded that up to 80-60 percent of child intelligence is NOT due to genetics, or in this case “parent intelligence.” This is a significantly larger percentage that the percentage that is does have to do with hereditary information. With this said, there is a good possibility that this measure would be due to chance, or most likely confounding variables in the child’s lifestyle. When pertaining to nature versus nurture, for this particular question, they both can influence the measure being observed here. Both have a percentage that influence the child’s level of intelligence, although nature in this case may be overthrown.
Nurture has a higher influence mostly because upbringing and the exposure and experiences children endure while growing up have a huge influence on the children’s future. Additionally, you cannot tell a child’s intelligence until they have reached a certain age anyway, there is no way to possibly find an IQ of an infant! That being said, things like economic status, ethnicity, involvement of parents in the child’s life, or even level of strictness on the child can influence their future of intelligence. And even the myths or hypotheses that children who breast fed through their infant years are more likely to have a higher IQ percentage, children who play an instrument are more likely to score higher, or children who were read to or are taught to read earlier, the list goes on.
Children with intelligent parents, based on the results of the study above surely do have a steady head start to reaching full potential, however, that is not the only measure that influences their smarts. Confounding variables/nurture has a huge impact on the child’s future intelligence. To the Harvard grad parents- your kid has potential, but the genes are all that will get them to the top.
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