Environmental Effects on Intelligence

The study of intelligence must take environmental effects into account. The Flynn effect describes a phenomenon that indicates that IQ has increased about 3 points per decade over the last fifty years, with children scoring higher than parents in each generation. This increase has been linked to multiple environmental factors, including better nutrition, increased schooling, higher educational attainment of parents, less childhood disease, more complex environmental stimulation, lower birth rates, and a variety of other factors.

Males and females have equivalent "g" scores. The question of racial differences and IQ arose when a 10 point IQ difference between African Americans and Americans of European descent was documented. Two adoption studies indicate that the effect may be in part related to environment factors, including culture. Also, environmental differences similar to those identified with the Flynn effect can be postulated. Studies of black Caribbean children and English children raised in an orphanage in England found that the black Caribbean children had higher IQs than the English children, with mixed racial children in between. A study comparing black children adopted by white families and those who were adopted into black families in the United States showed that black children raised by whites had higher IQ scores, again suggesting that the environment played a role.

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Pregnancy And Childbirth

Pregnancy And Childbirth

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