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Your Baby's Intelligence - Genes, Environment and You

     The argument of nature versus nurture, genes or grandma has been around for ages. Parents and scientists alike have argued over the question which is more important in determining how a child turns out.

Not too long ago, we have begun to appreciate that the question may not make sense. Many traits we inherit through our genes can only be expressed given the right environmental circumstances. Who we grow up to be, is an interaction between our genes and our environment.

Therefore, all the proclaimations surrounding the different proportions of personality or intelligence that are determined by genes and environment, respectively, need to be examined with caution.

Parents are often amazed at how pre-programmed their baby seem to be when she is born. The behaviour, likes and dislikes of siblings can seem very different from one another from the minute they are born, even though they actually share a whole lot of genes! Indeed, studies of identical twins (who share a full set of genes) that are brought up apart, suggest that about 40 per cent of the variation in the IQ scores of children is down to their genes. Interestingly, though, in studies of adult twins as much as 80 per cent of the variation in IQ scores seems to be down to genes.

Some researchers suggest that genes may set a ceiling level for IQ and as they mature, individuals are increasingly able to find ways of fulfilling their potential, overcoming the shortcomings in their environments.

So does this mean that even your best parenting might only make a 10 per cent difference?

Not really. The story is not that simple. Research into children from poor families suggest that genes may have a smaller role in determining their IQ scores than is the case among children brought up in more comfortable families. The implication of this is that genetic differences in intelligence only come fully into play if the environment is sufficiently supportive. However, we know from the research of Romanian orphanages and cases of severe child neglect that extreme negligence can lead to very serious developmental problems that cannot be corrected later on.

It is an undeniable fact that genes are the set point of a person's IQ. But a person can overcome shortcomings in their environment to reach their full intellectual potential over time, this suggests that your efforts to brain training your baby can really make a big difference, but perhaps not in the way you might imagine.

Obviously, the most important factor in determining the supportiveness of a child's environment is not the size of income to spend on toys, but the time and effort invested by parents. And research also indicate that not only genes, but also the environment before birth -- in the womb -- may make a difference to eventual IQ. So you can start work even before your baby is born !

Most people are thinking that baby brain-training means hard work for them and their baby now, for the sake of a payoff much later. For example, training your baby on early language skills might pave the way for a place on the board of directors at age 50.

It is not far-fetched to think that you may indeed be able to make a substantial difference to your child's IQ score at age 50. The big difference you can certainly make to how they do in primary school may actually have knock-on effects on the whole of their life and career. But what is even more certain is that your brain training efforts will mean that your child doesn't have to wait decades to fulfil their full intellectual potential. You have it in your power to give their mind full play from day one. Studies now indicate that we should see childhood not just as mental preparation for adulthood, but as a life stage with its own intellectual strengths.

Is a child's daydreaming an unimportant exercise? A leading psychologist has talked about a division in labour between adult and child intelligence --- children do research and development, the blue skies thinking, while adults do the less exciting work in marketing and production. With you as their brain trainer, your child can fulfill the extraordinary, fleeting potential of those wonderful early years while they last.

Brain training for babies is not about pain now for gain later, it's about ongoing fulfilment from scratch. Investing the time and effort to brain train your child in their early childhood can make a difference in their lives, with the correct tools, all it takes is just mere minutes a day.

Copyright (c) 2013 Elaine Mak

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Posted on 2013-05-29, By: *

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Note: The content of this article solely conveys the opinion of its author.

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