Intelligence Genes: Are there Genius Genes?


Are there Genius Genes? Intelligence is a widely studied and debated
subject. It is praised and admired…for the most part …Watch your back, because next time we catch you off campus we’re going to whoop you for
good. We’ll make sure it’s the last time you mess
with us. You better watch it boy. We believe that intelligent individuals provide
great technological and cultural advancements. We wish to understand why some of us seem
to be smarter than others. We largely believe that in a given population,
people fall into a bell curve. Most people have an IQ around the average
for that population, but there are also people at the extreme ends. Those with substantially low IQs and those
with exceedingly high IQs make up a small percentage of the overall population. Many studies have shown evidence that IQ is
highly heritable. Thus, consequently, much of IQ may be attributed
to genetic factors. A question that arises then, is are the genes
that are responsible for “normal” intelligence the same as those for “high” or “low
intelligence?” Some studies have shown evidence that those
with severe mental disabilities are likely to have rare genetic mutations that were not
inherited from their parents. But what about those with high intelligence? Can special genes explain their intelligence? What role does environment play? Researchers at the King’s College of London
wanted to get to the bottom…or top of this. The researchers studied a group of 3 million
18-year-old males from Sweden who were required to take a cognitive test known as the Swedish
Enlistment Battery (SEB) between 1968 to 2010! You see, until 2009 all Swedish males were required
to enlist in the Swedish military and thus, had to take this test. The researchers took this group and identified
twins and non-twin siblings with the top 5% highest scores. Then, using statistics, they investigated
whether their high intelligence could be attributed to their genes or other factors. The researchers found that the non-twin siblings
of the “high intelligent” individuals typically did not score as high as these high
performers, but still performed higher than the average Swede! This is evidence that the genes that made
the really smart people so smart were not necessarily unique to them and that brains
run in the family. But how do we know it was their DNA that made
these siblings smart and not their similar upbringing? Well, further supporting the gene hypothesis,
is the evidence that an identical twin of a super smart person is more likely to also
be super smart compared to a fraternal twin. Though, again, the fraternal twins were still
smarter than the average Joe. Overall, the results indicate that the high
intelligence can be inherited just as normal intelligence and there is nothing unique about
these genes that make up high intelligence. Also, there is still an environmental effect
on high intelligence! So, although you can’t change your genes
you can change your surroundings and perhaps you can study hard enough to increase your
IQ. Furthermore, if you want smart kids, find
a smart mate. This has been the Mindful Moment. This video is based on the following paper. Please click the subscribe button. Also, check out the website gazingoffintospace.wordpress.com
and subscribe there as well.

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