Genetics and Giftedness - Mothering Forums

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Old 03-12-2013, 08:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Genetically, for a child to be gifted, do his/her parents have to be gifted as well? Can a gifted child come from two parents with average intelligence?

 

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Old 03-12-2013, 10:43 PM
 
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Can a gifted child come from two parents with average intelligence?

 

 

Absolutely!  I have very dear friends who in some areas are quite smart but overall are really average.  They don't enjoy reading or learning in general and are by no means the first ones I call to come and play Trivial Pursuit with me.  Their eldest child is now starting college at barely 15.  And as it happens, their youngest is several years behind in social skill development (maybe just barely, ever so slightly, "autistic-y") and has already been held back once and is facing it again.  She's a sweet child but just is not smart...think Forrest Gump without the southern accent.

 

I have another friend who I met in junior high...in gifted class.  She's got half a dozen or so biological kids and at least two of them are very, very average and struggle in school.


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Old 03-12-2013, 10:48 PM
 
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Certainly. It can run in families and it can come out of the blue.


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Old 03-13-2013, 02:47 AM
 
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I read somehwere that doe to the way chromosomes work, boys "get it" more via the maternal line, girls can "get it" from both lines.

So with a little boy, look at the maternal ancestors, with girls, at both lines, with male ancestors following the maternal line. I

 

I have checked out this dynamic in our family (just assuming who is gifted and who isn't, no on in our family has ever been tested as far as I know) and it pans out quite nicely.


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Old 03-13-2013, 11:20 AM
 
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Absolutely!  I have very dear friends who in some areas are quite smart but overall are really average.  They don't enjoy reading or learning in general and are by no means the first ones I call to come and play Trivial Pursuit with me.  Their eldest child is now starting college at barely 15.  And as it happens, their youngest is several years behind in social skill development (maybe just barely, ever so slightly, "autistic-y") and has already been held back once and is facing it again.  She's a sweet child but just is not smart...think Forrest Gump without the southern accent.

 

I have another friend who I met in junior high...in gifted class.  She's got half a dozen or so biological kids and at least two of them are very, very average and struggle in school.

 

 

I would be careful making assumptions and thinking people are 'average' just because they dont 'enjoy reading' or 'board games' or if someone 'struggles in school'

 

Gifted kiddos can appear average, not enjoy academic-y activities, and struggle in school.

 

Like the rest of the population : gifted people can have learning disabilities, personality differences, and a vast vast vast array of personal interests (that can or can not include academics and reading).

 

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Certainly. It can run in families and it can come out of the blue.

 

I agree. There is a strong genetic component but also readings have stated that  environment can play a role- and also there are occasional variances in families sometimes with one person with vastly different degrees of giftedness.

 

But there isa very strong correlation between siblings and parents and IQ scores that has been fairly well studied. Often biological family members are within 10-15 point of each other (or closer).

 

With that in mind--- a persons personality, learning style, cultural norms, and other components (disabilities of any kind, interest level, age, etc) can all make different people 'appear' to the general public to be of vastly different gifted levels based on our own cultural perceptions of what 'gifted' looks like when in fact- they may have the exact same level of giftedness (by the same measurement standard) that presents different.

 

Having worked with kids that undergo various educational tests (social,cognitive, emotional, physical, and academic) : I have long ago learned to try to not make any preconceived notions before I have all the information. Many kids have come up with scores that are surprising (both higher and lower) enough to help me realize not to ever make broad generalizations and judging  'a book by its cover'.

 

Be cautious in labeling 'other people' based on your own observations.

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Old 03-13-2013, 11:51 AM
 
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Humans today are products of thousands of generations of ancestors. The genetics of the parents are almost entirely irrelevant.

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Old 03-13-2013, 02:19 PM
 
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Humans today are products of thousands of generations of ancestors. The genetics of the parents are almost entirely irrelevant.


Interesting take on the matter! Entirely irrelevant? Really? So how come my sons look exactly like my husband and my daughter exactly like me? Pure chance?


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Old 03-13-2013, 04:02 PM
 
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Humans today are products of thousands of generations of ancestors. The genetics of the parents are almost entirely irrelevant.

 

You can only get genes from your parents, not from any of the thousands of generations of ancestors before them.  It doesn't matter how many of your ancestors had a particular gene; if neither of your parents have it, you won't have it.  (Except as the result of a mutation.)

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Old 03-13-2013, 04:40 PM
 
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Interesting take on the matter! Entirely irrelevant? Really? So how come my sons look exactly like my husband and my daughter exactly like me? Pure chance?

 

Guessing both you and your husband resemble at least one of your ancestors. (and my post did say almost entirely).

 

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You can only get genes from your parents, not from any of the thousands of generations of ancestors before them.  It doesn't matter how many of your ancestors had a particular gene; if neither of your parents have it, you won't have it.  (Except as the result of a mutation.)

 

True, but if they possess only one copy of a genotype, it may not be visibly detectible.

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Old 03-13-2013, 08:27 PM
 
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One way of looking at genetics is that your genes load the gun, your environment pulls the trigger.

 

Genes may or may not be expressed and different environments can effect their expression. In the case of neurology, your genes tell your brain how to lay down and prune neural pathways, then your experiences cause different neural pathways to form and be pruned. Therefore intelligence is highly heritable, however environment also plays a role.

 

There are also issues of gene and environment match or mismatch. Some traits are more encouraged and cultivated in different environments than in others.


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Old 03-17-2013, 04:23 PM
 
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I would be careful making assumptions and thinking people are 'average' just because they dont 'enjoy reading' or 'board games' or if someone 'struggles in school'

 

Gifted kiddos can appear average, not enjoy academic-y activities, and struggle in school.

 

Be cautious in labeling 'other people' based on your own observations.

 

We've been friends for well over a decade.  Trust me, they are by no means intellectually disadvantaged but they also are completely average in intelligence.


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Old 03-18-2013, 06:50 AM
 
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Bkessedwithboys, I really think you should be careful in assuming that you can assess a person's IQ simply by knowing them socially. What you see through interpersonal interactions and day-to-day stuff is a reflection more of temperament, interests, motivation and interpersonal style than native intelligence.

There's a woman I know who I first met almost two decades ago when we played some classical music together, and she's become a long-term friend. She's not a particularly talented pianist. She floundered as a parent. She has trouble holding daily life stuff together, she went to teacher's college as a mature student and struggled to graduate. She lives in poverty, struggles with a couple of addictions, develops fleeting naive enthusiasms, has some anxiety, doesn't seem to be able to weigh ideas with any of what I'd call wisdom, often seems to misunderstand things and go off on tangents. She's been minimally employed or unemployed since I met her. Everything about her social style and life trajectory tells me that she's in the low intelligence realm.

But I happen to know that growing up in NYC in the 1960's and 1970's she was identified as intellectually gifted and attended a gifted school until mid-high school when she dropped out to join the anti-war movement. I was stunned to learn this from her ex-husband, confirmed by her. I would never have guessed.

Unless you know someone's IQ I don't think you can really assume they're of completely average intelligence.

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Old 03-18-2013, 04:15 PM
 
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Bkessedwithboys, I really think you should be careful in assuming that you can assess a person's IQ simply by knowing them socially. What you see through interpersonal interactions and day-to-day stuff is a reflection more of temperament, interests, motivation and interpersonal style than native intelligence.

There's a woman I know who I first met almost two decades ago when we played some classical music together, and she's become a long-term friend. She's not a particularly talented pianist. She floundered as a parent. She has trouble holding daily life stuff together, she went to teacher's college as a mature student and struggled to graduate. She lives in poverty, struggles with a couple of addictions, develops fleeting naive enthusiasms, has some anxiety, doesn't seem to be able to weigh ideas with any of what I'd call wisdom, often seems to misunderstand things and go off on tangents. She's been minimally employed or unemployed since I met her. Everything about her social style and life trajectory tells me that she's in the low intelligence realm.

But I happen to know that growing up in NYC in the 1960's and 1970's she was identified as intellectually gifted and attended a gifted school until mid-high school when she dropped out to join the anti-war movement. I was stunned to learn this from her ex-husband, confirmed by her. I would never have guessed.

Unless you know someone's IQ I don't think you can really assume they're of completely average intelligence.

Miranda

 

Not to sound overly narcissistic, but I'm the same. My IQ was measured several times both as a child and a young adult, I also attended a school for gifted children but I didn't turn out to be anything special either. I don't use big words, don't enjoy book clubs and don't post intellectual articles on FB or blog which would lead someone to believe I'm of above average intelligence ...it isn't on purpose and isn't a statement of any kind, I've just always been like that. Several of my classmates are the same. One is a Disney character on a Disney cruise ship LOL

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Old 03-18-2013, 09:57 PM
 
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One way of looking at genetics is that your genes load the gun, your environment pulls the trigger.

 

Genes may or may not be expressed and different environments can effect their expression. In the case of neurology, your genes tell your brain how to lay down and prune neural pathways, then your experiences cause different neural pathways to form and be pruned. Therefore intelligence is highly heritable, however environment also plays a role.

 

There are also issues of gene and environment match or mismatch. Some traits are more encouraged and cultivated in different environments than in others.

 

I can't remember where, but I've read a few articles on kids who were considered borderline gifted, IQ 125-130.  Those that participated in gifted programs and were encouraged to advance academically actually increased their IQ score through high school.  Students who did not participate in gifted programs and chose not to take the more advanced classes in school, did not increase their IQ scores like the other students. 

 

This either shows the faultiness of the test, or the great potential for neuroplasticity in the brain.  Interesting though, and food for thought when considering how much to advocate advancement for your child when you feel they are gifted. I'll try to find links and post them.


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Old 03-20-2013, 06:55 AM
 
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Well, I guess if giftedness can't be determined through casual social interaction, my friends are all wrong about me!  hahaha


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Old 03-29-2013, 08:02 PM
 
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My understanding is there is no link. My IQ and that of my husband is around 150, but my parents are of average intelligence. On my husband's side both his mother and maternal grandmother are of above average intelligence. 

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