Monday, September 19, 2016
IQ rediscovered yet again. You can't suppress reality for long
They account for around one per cent of the population and much of their success has been put down to dedication and perseverance.
But new studies are now challenging the notion that extremely intelligent children earn their achievements through hard work.
Instead, they suggest that they may have a genetic advantage from birth, and that success is built on this early head-start.
Two clusters of genes have been found that are directly linked to human intelligence.
Called M1 and M3, these 'gene networks' appear to determine how smart a person is by controlling their memory, attention, processing speed and reasoning.
Crucially, scientists have also discovered that these two networks - which each contain hundreds of genes - are likely to be under the control of master regulator switches.
Researchers from Imperial College London are now keen to identify these switches and explore whether it might be feasible to manipulate them.
The research is at a very early stage, but the scientists would ultimately like to investigate whether it is possible to use this knowledge of gene networks to boost cognitive function.
The investigators analysed thousands of genes expressed in the human brain, and then combined these results with genetic information from healthy people who had undergone IQ tests.
Remarkably, they found that some of the same genes that influence human intelligence in healthy people were also the same genes that cause impaired cognitive ability and epilepsy when mutated.
In the US, there are several universities that look out for early talent and have been tracking where high-achieving children end up. Their results show that those who succeed have an early cognitive advantage.
Johns Hopkins University in Maryland runs a talent programme which is open to adolescents who scored in the top one per cent in maths and English. Notable alumni include Mark Zuckerburg, founder of Facebook, and Lady Gaga.
While many of the children on this programme have gone on to achieve great things, Jonathan Wai, a psychologist in the Talent Identification Programme at Duke University in North Carolina, wanted to test whether childhood aptitude was a guide to success in general.
He looked at five subsets of the US elite – federal judges, billionaires, Fortune 500 chief executives and members of the Senate and House of Representatives. He found that in each subset, those in the top one per cent of ability were over-represented.
While these people could have pushy parents, or have attended top schools, Mr Wai argues that environment factors alone cannot account for success.....
While these studies do suggest that intelligence has a high genetic basis, education and opportunity could still lead to success for those without a strong genetic basis.
Posted by jonjayray at 8:22 PM