Psychology question?

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Psychology question?

Postby FrancisDrake » Fri Dec 16, 2011 12:02 am UTC

Hello XKCD geniuses, I'm having a problem with this question and would enjoy all feedback to add to my own answers.

There is a high correlation between the IQ scores of parents and children. Is this due to genetics or environment? How could you tell?
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Re: Psychology question?

Postby gmalivuk » Fri Dec 16, 2011 12:21 am UTC

Tell us what your own answers are, so we can be sure we're not just doing your homework for you.
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Re: Psychology question?

Postby Angua » Fri Dec 16, 2011 10:57 am UTC

Look into any studies that have to separate nature from nurture - this isn't really a psychology question, it's one of a scientific method used for things ranging from mental issues to things like juvenile diabetes.
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Re: Psychology question?

Postby FrancisDrake » Fri Dec 16, 2011 9:44 pm UTC

I think I found the answer. IQ is highly heritable so it's genes, however it is also Environment; children learn and score higher in school, if they are raised in a stable well educated environment. Also, they can test the theory if they study the performance of children who are adopted into a family than compare them to their biological parents. Also, they could study the differences between the biological children and the adoptive children in the same environment. Also, they can study the difference between Twins raised apart in different environments.
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Re: Psychology question?

Postby Bakemaster » Sat Dec 17, 2011 4:32 am UTC

FrancisDrake wrote:Is this due to genetics or environment?

Yes and yes.

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Re: Psychology question?

Postby Yakk » Mon Dec 19, 2011 3:10 pm UTC

That confounds the environment of the "womb" with genetics, by the way. :)

In addition, twin studies have a problem in that twins are not like other children. Twins tend to have a number of problems more often than non-twins (various cognitive problems are more common).

As an example of how this could easily confound a twin study, suppose everyone has 100 IQ, except for people with a particular condition. 5% of the general population has this condition, as well as 10% of twins. If one twin has it, both twins have it. It is caused by insufficient resources during fetal development. The effect of this condition is that it drops your IQ to 80.

Despite genetics having zero impact on IQ in this model, you'll find a strong correlation between twin IQ raised apart.
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Re: Psychology question?

Postby FrancisDrake » Thu Dec 29, 2011 8:34 am UTC

Thanks for the positive feedback everyone.
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