Factors affecting intelligence

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  • DNA and Genes.
    • Factors Affecting Intelligence
      • Nutrition
        • Lucas et al (1998) found that premature babies who were breastfed had higher cognitive skills at 8 yrs old than bottle-fed preterm babies
          • these babies were preterm and so may have been more vulnerable to nutrition in breast milk meaning that the bottle-fed babies had a negative impact.
        • If a child has lower than satisfactory levels of nutrition then supplements would help improve IQ
        • if they have good nutrition a supplement will have little or no impact on IQ.
        • Mortenson et al (2002) found that once confounding factors such as mothers' IQ was controlled there was a significant positive correlation between length of time a baby was breastfed and their later scores on adult tests. So there may be long-term benefits of breastfeeding or it might be the duration babies were breastfed for.
      • Brain structure in terms of volume of grey and white matter.
        • Males have fewer but thicker white matter fibres and are more efficient at spatial tasks
        • females have more neuron efficiency in verbal skills.
          • This is because of increases in matter of parts of the brain e.g. women have more matter in the Broca's area in meaning they have better language skills.
            • Males have fewer but thicker white matter fibres and are more efficient at spatial tasks
      • Prenatal stress
        • a fetus is vulnerable it is susceptible to cortisol (stress hormone) produced by the mother
        • King et al (2008) researched stress caused by an ice storm in Quebec.
          • 140 children were studied
          • found that children aged 5 who had mothers who were highly stressed during the ice storm scored around 15 IQ points lower than other local children.
      • Toxic substances
        • Goldschmidt et al (2008) found that heavy cannabis use during the first 3 months of being pregnant linked to lower reasoning scores in children aged 6.
          • Heavy use during the second 3 months had effects on scores for memory skills.
            • Heavy use in the last 3 months was linked to overall lower IQ scores.
          • The mothers smoking during the last three months were likely to have been smoking in the first 6 as well.
            • Furthermore, the mothers who smoked cannabis may also have been the lower IQ mothers or mothers with social support issues.
    • Some research shows that contribution of genes to intelligence can be between 25-50%.
    • Verbal skills can be genetically transferred but memory skills cannot.
    • Deary's (2000) found a correlation of 0.63 in IQ tests for people tested at 11 and 79,
      • environmental factors influence about 40% of intelligence.


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