Know someone super smart? Maybe it’s you? Thank your mother.
According to new research, it’s moms who are responsible for transmitting intelligence genes.
In simple terms, people are equipped with conditioned genes, which can behave differently depending on if they come from mom or dad. Some, like most of our intelligence genes, work only if they come from the mother.
“If that same gene is inherited from the father, it is deactivated. Obviously, other genes work the opposite, are activated only if they come from the father,” reports the study in Psychology Spot.
It was previously believed that intelligence depended on the father as well as on the mother—but the study reveals that because intelligence genes are located on chromosome X, they are more likely to be on the intelligence level of their mom.
In embryo development, any cell can appear anywhere in the brain, but as they mature, they generally separate like this: “The paternal genes accumulate in some areas of the emotional brain: hypothalamus, amygdala, the preoptic area and the septum. These areas are part of the limbic system, which is responsible for ensuring our survival and is involved in functions such as sex, food and aggression. However, researchers have not found any paternal cells in the cerebral cortex, which is where they develop the most advanced cognitive functions, such as intelligence, thought, language and planning.”
Adding to the find, The Medical Research Council Social and Public Health Sciences Unit in the United States had conducted a study on mothers related to intelligence since 1994, interviewing 12,686 young people aged between 14 and 22 about their IQ. Race, education, and socio-economic status were also included as factors in the study. They also found that the best predictor of intelligence was the IQ of the mother—so much so that the young adults surveyed had IQ’s that varied only 15 points from that of their moms.
An emotional and physical bond with the mother is also crucial in developing smarts, says the study, even though one with the father is important for different reasons.
“Researchers have found that when supported emotionally, and adequately gratified their intellectual and emotional needs, the hippocampus of the kids was 10 percent greater than that of children of mothers who were emotionally distant. It is worth mentioning that the hippocampus is an area of the brain associated with memory, learning and stress response.”
The study says that it is estimated that “between 40 and 60 percent of intelligence is hereditary.”
This means that the remaining percentage depends on environment and stimulation. And intelligence declines if we don’t continue problem solving, adds the study.
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