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Discuss the role of genetics and cultural differences in thedevelopment of measured intelligence.

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Introduction

Discuss the role of genetics and cultural differences in the development of measured intelligence. The issue of the role of the environment, genetics and cultural differences on the development of intelligence is a relatively complex one. There have been many studies into this area of psychology showing opposing results and theories as to which, genetics or environment has the most influencing role on determining one's intelligence. The most popular method of assessing the relative importance of heredity and environment in determining individual differences in intelligence is to conduct a twin study. There are two kinds of twins, monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ). MZ twins derive from the same fertilised ovum and have essentially identical genotypes. It is for this reason that they are often called identical twins. DZ twins derive from two different ova and as a result, their genotypes are no similar than those of ordinary siblings. If heredity is important, then MZ twins should be considerably more similar in intelligence than DZ twins. On the other hand, if environmental factors are all-important, then MZ twins should be no more alike than DZ twins. Bouchard and McGue (1981) ...read more.

Middle

discussed the findings from the Texas Adoption Project, which involved almost 500 adopted children. The correlation between the adopted children and their biological mothers for intelligence was +0.28, indicating that there is only a moderate degree of similarity in intelligence. The correlation between the adopted children and their adoptive mothers was even lower at +0.15. both of these correlations are so low that it is hard to make any definite statements about the roles played by heredity and environment, though it does suggest a greater role for heredity. A further study into adopted children by Loehlin, Horn and Willerman (1989) found that there were some differences in the findings when the adopted children were tested again 10 years later. Now the children had increased correlation with their biological mothers but less with their adoptive mothers. Shared family environment between the adopted children and their adopted mothers was reduced in importance, whereas genetic factors had a greater influence on the adopted children's intelligence than had been the case 10 years earlier. Capron and Duyne (1989) reported a very impressive adoption study. They made use of four very different groups of adopted children. ...read more.

Conclusion

Also, Loehlin and Nichols brought to attention that similarity of treatment has an effect on the similarity of intelligence in the form of IQ. The "Bell Curve" research also recognised that genetics play an important role as in the separated twin studies there was strong evidence of links between intelligence and heritability in whites. Also, it was claimed that social intervention can do very little to raise IQ. Adoption studies have shown that ten years after a study, genetic factors have a greater influence on adopted children's intelligence than had been at the original study, therefore implying that the role of genetics on intelligence develops over time. On another adoption study by Capron and Duyne (1989) it was found that genetic and environmental factors play their part in about equal importance on the development of intelligence. Other studies such as "Operation Headstart" and cross-cultural studies have also shown that although genetics do play an important role in the development of intelligence, there is an equally important role of environmental factors. Therefore, the in-ability to recognise which factor, nature or nurture, is responsible for any specific trait, but knowing that one or both of the two is responsible, will keep the argument of genetics vs. environment in the forefront of our search for answers for a long, long time. Laura Wing Psychology Essay - Janice 1 ...read more.

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