Environment vs Heredity on Intelligence - Term Paper Example

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Environment versus heredity on intelligence Name: Institution: Abstract The debate of nature and nurture in psychology has attracted intense interest; psychologists agree that both of these aspects contribute to cognitive skills development. Nature includes the hereditary traits that are passed from one generation to another, and nurture includes the social environment where the child is brought up…
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Download file to see previous pages Intelligence involves learning from past experiences and adapting to the surrounding environment (Hayes, 2005). Nature versus nurture debate dates back to Francis Galton research on the influence of hereditary and environment variables on human development. Scientists have claimed for many years that hair and eye color is determined by specific genes in human cells (Pastorino & Doyle-Portillo, 2011). However, nurture theories have pointed out the influence of the social environment on the intelligence level of children through the classical conditioning process (Hayes, 2005). If the environment was not a determinant of intelligence, then identical twins would have to be alike in all aspects of their life. For instance, leading scientists in Boston have proved that children exposed to high volumes of exhaust fumes had a lower intelligence than their peers living in cleaner environments (Sternberg, 1997). Air pollution leads to mental pressures and the worry that adversely impact the functioning of the neurotransmitters, thus inhibiting the development of nerve cells (Hayes, 2005). Nature provides individuals with genetic traits and inborn capabilities, and the nurture transforms abilities and shapes the individual intelligence in the human development process. Intelligence refers to the general mental capabilities like reasoning, speed of learning, and storing and retrieval of information within human memory (Sternberg, 1997). Two kinds of intelligence can be can be indicated: fluid intelligence, which is innate, and the basic reasoning skills and crystallized intelligence, which are the skills that are acquired in the social and cultural environment. Both nature and nurture are critical in determining individual intelligence; the nurture, however, is more important (Leal, 1994). Hereditary genes facilitate the growth and development of individuals. The environmental factors include the influence of schooling, parenting, and the surrounding, which refers to social and physical environment (Leal, 1994). According to Locke’s philosophy, the minds of newborns are usually blank, but the environment shapes them. Rousseau suggested that hereditary characteristics are more crucial in the development process. All psychologists agree that both nature and nurture influence intelligence, since no individual is born without any genes and no individual lives without interacting with the environment (Hayes, 2005). Hereditary factors Some genetic characteristics that are controlled by a single pair of genes and are dominant in some individuals include the tongue-rolling ability, length of the second-toe, and earlobe shape. Hereditary genes lead to some genetic disorders like Down syndrome when an individual has extra chromosomes due to poor cell division at the time of conception. The extra chromosomes lead to a low intellectual development, which hinders the growth. Fragile X syndrome is another disorder that leads to mental retardation that delays the development of social skills (Sternberg, 1997). The disorder results from the breakdown of the X chromosomes, due to which it affects mainly female individuals. Alzheimer’s disease, which may appear earlier in an individual’ ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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