Intelligence: Environmental Factors

Intelligence, or cognitive ability, has long been known to be an interaction between a person’s genetic inheritance and the environment. Scientists, educators, philosophers, and policy makers have debated the long history of twin studies examining the impact of heritability (genetics) and environmental factors. Whereas the “nature” side of the debate argues that much of a person’s mental ability, like other inherited traits, is determined by genetics, the “nurture” camp posits that although genetics cannot be discounted, intellectual capacity originates largely from the environmental factors that impact development. The nature or nurture question is complex, but clearly neither genetics nor environment is solely responsible in determining a person’s intelligence. Rather, the interaction between genetics and environment is accepted as providing a better explanation for what is ...

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