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What determines and affects our IQ? Essay

What determines and affects our IQ?, 494 words essay example

Essay Topic: child abuse, domestic violence, environmental, power

There has been much debate about whether education can affect one's IQ. A reform that increased the compulsory schooling in Norway from 7 years to 9 years was used to study the effect of education on IQ. In a research conducted by Brinch & Galloway (2012), IQ scores on cognitive ability tests administered by the Norwegian military to all men eligible to join the military at the age of 19 years were used and compared with data obtained from Norwegian National Educational Database which stated whether they were educated pre or post the educational reform. It was found that during and after the period of the reform, there was a considerable increase in the average IQ of the men studying under the new system of education. This could be an important discovery since it suggests that a change in an environmental factor, in this case exposure to further education could positively impact your intelligence, contradicting the past researches which promote genetics as the sole determinant of intelligence. Another research (Cheng, Ickes & Verhofstadt, 2012) proved that family support (both economic support and social support) had a positive relationship with a student's academic performance in college. However, since this study used GPA scores instead of IQ test scores, it can be argued that it doesn't accurately show us the impact of environmental factors on intelligence since GPA scores result from a combination of learning abilities, intelligence and memory power.
These researches do not provide a simple straightforward answer to the nature-nurture debate. Instead, they encourage further research into this issue, for no definitive answer has been found. The adoption studies and twin studies seem to prove that genetics is the answer we've been looking for. However, they only show us that genetics plays a strong role in determining our intelligence and have neglected determining the role of 'nurture' in their experiments. Also, the concept of 'nurture' includes so many aspects  economic background, family support, family size, and many more factors which are often impossible to measure in numerical terms. For example, there is no accurate way to measure a supportive atmosphere at home. This makes it hard to scientifically prove its impact on intelligence. These studies also ignore extreme situations, like the impact of child abuse or domestic violence on cognitive abilities. Since there are so many factors that can be termed as environmental, it is a difficult task to categorically state that 'nurture' shapes our intelligence. However, it has been found that at times, good 'nurture' can positively impact one's intelligence, as in the researches mentioned earlier. It is clear from numerous studies conducted that genetics has the upper hand in this matter however, we cannot ignore the considerable contribution of environmental factors to intelligence which recent researches have been proving. Perhaps, instead of finding the answer to this question, it is the question itself we must change from nature v/s nurture to nature AND nurture, for clearly they both play a strong role in determining our intelligence.

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