Genetic and Environmental Factors of Intelligence Essay example

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Genetic and Environmental Factors of Intelligence One of the most interesting and controversial areas in behavioral genetics, human intelligence is currently assumed to be subject to both genetic and environmental influences. While this assumption is accepted by a majority of geneticists and behavioral scientists, there is great disagreement on the degree of influence each contributes. Arguments for environmental influences are compelling; at the same time there is growing evidence that genetic influence on intelligence is significant and substantial (Eyesenck, 1998; Mackintosh, 1998; Plomin, 1994; Steen, 1996). The purpose of this paper is to explore the question: "How is intelligence influenced by heredity and environment?"…show more content…
His concept involved the idea that certain mental tasks are appropriate to certain ages, such as the ability to recite the names of the months: while expected of a ten year old, such ability would be rare in a three year old. Binet quantified intelligence as the Intelligence Quotient (IQ): the ratio of mental age to chronological age, multiplied by 100. Reasoning that low intelligence stemmed from improper development, Binet envisioned the test as a first step in treatment: a diagnostic instrument used to detect children with inadequate intelligence in order to treat them using "mental orthopedics." Binet argued forcefully against the idea that intelligence is fixed or innate: "We must protest and react against this brutal pessimism (Lewontin, Rose, & Kamen, 1984)." However, those who translated his test into English tended to disagree, arguing that the test measured an innate and immutable, genetically inherited characteristic. After Binet's death in 1911, the Galtonian eugenicists assumed control, shifting the focus firmly toward genetic explanations by insisting that differences in intelligence between social classes and races were due to inherent genetic differences. Over time, the tests were standardized to correspond to a priori conceptions of intelligence by including items that correlated well with school performance. Test items that differentiated between gender
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