A more sophisticated take on nature vs. nurture


In a widely-discussed 2003 article, he found that, as anticipated, virtually all the variation in I.Q. scores for twins in the sample with wealthy parents can be attributed to genetics. The big surprise is among the poorest families. Contrary to what you might expect, for those children, the I.Q.’s of identical twins vary just as much as the I.Q.’s of fraternal twins. The impact of growing up impoverished overwhelms these children’s genetic capacities. In other words, home life is the critical factor for youngsters at the bottom of the economic barrel. “If you have a chaotic environment, kids’ genetic potential doesn’t have a chance to be expressed,” Turkheimer explains. “Well-off families can provide the mental stimulation needed for genes to build the brain circuitry for intelligence.”

  • Hi Fabrice,

    My feeling is that IQ is a dangerous metric… It actually calculates your ability to answer an IQ test and weight it against other people having taken the same test…
    But has it been proven that it measures something beyond measuring IQ test answering capabilities??

    In other words… Is Einstein stronger or weaker than Mozart? Is Bocuse (French Chef) better or worse than Napoleon or Roosevelt? Is Bill Gates better or worse than Mandela?

    All those guys have their share of awards to their resumes… Yet, to me it all depends on what you measure them up to… And they just show that measuring human beings on one single dimension is fairly irrelevant…

    Actually it’s quite often that once someone has mastered one art, it wants to prove itself in another… Some guys I happen to know are well-famous entrepreneurs who may get into politics… A strange world we live in :))

  • Did you know that most of the studies on Twins were accumulated from the experiments made on Twins from the Holocaust?