Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Intelligence is in the genes, but where? Most genes thought to be linked to intelligence probably have no bearing on IQ

Date:
October 2, 2012
Source:
Association for Psychological Science
Summary:
You can thank your parents for your smarts -- or at least some of them. Psychologists have long known that intelligence, like most other traits, is partly genetic. But a new study reveals the surprising fact that most of the specific genes long thought to be linked to intelligence probably have no bearing on one's IQ. And it may be some time before researchers can identify intelligence's specific genetic roots.

A new study reveals the surprising fact that most of the specific genes long thought to be linked to intelligence probably have no bearing on one's IQ.
Credit: iStockphoto

You can thank your parents for your smarts -- or at least some of them. Psychologists have long known that intelligence, like most other traits, is partly genetic. But a new study led by psychological scientist Christopher Chabris of Union College reveals the surprising fact that most of the specific genes long thought to be linked to intelligence probably have no bearing on one's IQ. And it may be some time before researchers can identify intelligence's specific genetic roots.

Chabris and David Laibson, a Harvard economist, led an international team of researchers that analyzed a dozen genes using large data sets that included both intelligence testing and genetic data.

In nearly every case, the researchers found that intelligence could not be linked to the specific genes that were tested. The results are published online in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

"In all of our tests we only found one gene that appeared to be associated with intelligence, and it was a very small effect. This does not mean intelligence does not have a genetic component. It means it's a lot harder to find the particular genes, or the particular genetic variants, that influence the differences in intelligence," said Chabris.

It had long been believed, on the basis of studies of identical and fraternal twins, that intelligence was a heritable trait. The new research affirms that conclusion. But older studies that picked out specific genes had flaws, Chabris said, primarily because of technological limits that prevented researchers from probing more than a few locations in the human genome to find genes that affected intelligence.

"We want to emphasize that we are not saying the people who did earlier research in this area were foolish or wrong," Chabris said. "They were using the best technology and information they had available. At the time, it was believed that individual genes would have a much larger effect -- they were expecting to find genes that might each account for several IQ points."

Chabris said additional research is needed to determine the exact role genes play in intelligence.

"As is the case with other traits, like height, there are probably thousands of genes and their variants that are associated with intelligence," he said. "And there may be other genetic effects beyond the single gene effects. There could be interactions among genes, or interactions between genes and the environment. Our results show that the way researchers have been looking for genes that may be related to intelligence -- the candidate gene method -- is fairly likely to result in false positives, so other methods should be used."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Association for Psychological Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. C. F. Chabris, B. M. Hebert, D. J. Benjamin, J. Beauchamp, D. Cesarini, M. van der Loos, M. Johannesson, P. K. E. Magnusson, P. Lichtenstein, C. S. Atwood, J. Freese, T. S. Hauser, R. M. Hauser, N. Christakis, D. Laibson. Most Reported Genetic Associations With General Intelligence Are Probably False Positives. Psychological Science, 2012; DOI: 10.1177/0956797611435528

Cite This Page:

Association for Psychological Science. "Intelligence is in the genes, but where? Most genes thought to be linked to intelligence probably have no bearing on IQ." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 October 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121002150027.htm>.
Association for Psychological Science. (2012, October 2). Intelligence is in the genes, but where? Most genes thought to be linked to intelligence probably have no bearing on IQ. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121002150027.htm
Association for Psychological Science. "Intelligence is in the genes, but where? Most genes thought to be linked to intelligence probably have no bearing on IQ." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121002150027.htm (accessed September 18, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Cost of Ebola

The Cost of Ebola

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 18, 2014) As Sierra Leone prepares for a three-day "lockdown" in its latest bid to stem the spread of Ebola, Ciara Lee looks at the financial implications of fighting the largest ever outbreak of the disease. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
What HealthKit Bug Means For Your iOS Fitness Apps

What HealthKit Bug Means For Your iOS Fitness Apps

Newsy (Sep. 18, 2014) Apple has delayed the launch of the HealthKit app platform, citing a bug. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Residents Vaccinated as Haiti Fights Cholera Epidemic

Residents Vaccinated as Haiti Fights Cholera Epidemic

AFP (Sep. 18, 2014) Haitians receive the second dose of the vaccine against cholera as part of the UN's vaccination campaign. Duration: 00:34 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Artificial Sweetener Could Promote Diabetes

Artificial Sweetener Could Promote Diabetes

Newsy (Sep. 17, 2014) Doctors once thought artificial sweeteners lacked the health risks of sugar, but a new study says they can impact blood sugar levels the same way. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins