What influences our IQ

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Think about in television shows and movies where there is an impoverished kid who accomplishes great things. There characters are portrayed as inspirations because they are not supposed to contain high intelligences because of their unfortunate situations. However, is socioeconomic status really that influential in determining one's IQ and future success?
Psychologists have been trying for decades to see if there is an effect on IQ based on if the person is in poverty or not. In the 1970's, Arthur Jensen observed children in a poor part of rural Georgia and saw that there was a cumulative deficit. Over time, these children were reported to have a steady decrease in IQ by 1.5 points each year. They believed that because they were in a poor area, they couldn't develop intellectually compared to those in better learning environments. Another possible reason for this decrease in IQ was their lack of an adequate nutrition. I was surprised to discover that nutrition can influence one's IQ. I have to wonder though, whether these numbers are really caused by nutrition and socioeconomic status, and not some other factor.
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I believe that nutrition really does influence a person's IQ. Healthy foods give a person more energy and focus in order to help them learn more and intake more information. With unhealthy food, a person has less energy and therefore does not want to put as much attention into learning. However there is probably some correlation between healthy nutrition and socioeconomic status, since with more money, organic food and fresh produce can be bought, as opposed to cheap fast food.

Although the one Georgia study shows the decrease I think what must be taken into account is not only their natural intelligence, but their experiences. If they are out in rural areas each day, probably farming, they are going through a limited number of actions, a very small amount of new experiences, and disabling themselves from taking in new experiences that could have the potential to shape them and their IQs.

I would be surprised if nutrition and socioeconomic status don't affect a person's IQ as their standard of living is improved if those two are better, and I would think that would lead to a higher IQ.

I agree with Arthur Jensen, because when kids grow up in a bad part of town their focus is not on school but focused more on threats, such as trying to stay alive (very extreme). Their focus is also put onto taking care of their siblings, because maybe their parents are working all the time trying to make ends meet. If kids aren't focusing on school and sometimes not even attending it, their IQ isn't going to be high. I agree with rzent003, that IQ doesn't take into account all the experiences that this child has gone through, and I'm sure these children growing up in rural areas have great street smarts.

I strongly agree with the point that nutrition is related to people's IQ. As Arthur Jensen stated, the environment can clearly show that IQ is decreased if the growing condition is poor and hard. This should not be the only factor, but it still have influence on intelligence and behavior.

I agree with rzent003, experience and biology affect intelligence. Aside from the obvious lack of good food, there is also a lack of other things to build experience. I'm sure these children were increasing their knowledge in some area, just not what was on the IQ obviously.

All great points, I too believe that nutrition is strongly related to people's IQ which would account for the lower IQ's in the more impoverished areas. A thought came to me as I read this post and I wondered if there were other factors that could influence the dropping IQ's. I am the type of person that thinks that a lot of what happens to people is mental, for example, these children are in an environment where they are more than likely expected to have low IQ scores. If they are believing that they aren't as smart as the richer kids then that could actually affect their scores in a detrimental way. Kind of like if you BELIEVE that you aren't as strong as someone, you will likely be weaker than them because your mind is telling you that you are.

It is difficult to know whether it is the nutrition or the socioeconomic status that cause the differences in IQ. It is interesting that the IQ's of the children in Georgia continued to go down. I would have thought that they would be low to start with and just stay low throughout their life.

This is really interesting. I think this kind of relates to the claim that people are born with a certain level of basic intelligence, and it cannot be changed. I completely disagree with this. I think that people's intelligence can change day-by-day because learning is a constant process.

that's a very good question. It is always a challenge to take something as complicated as an IQ and boil it down to one or two factors. And although we might not be able to say for sure the root cause of the diminishing IQ, I think that this is a very good place to start.

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This page contains a single entry by joh09532 published on April 8, 2012 11:56 PM.

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