It’s a firm belief on my part that intelligence is a combination of hereditary and environmental influences. But if asked which exerts a more significant effect in one’s way of life, I have to say it’s the environmental one. Intelligence may be traced to run in our family, but I’m pretty sure each of us would rather say that we worked hard for whatever it is that we’ve achieved than just because were “born bright.”
Many studies both recent and in the past have proved the existence of genetic influences on the cognitive abilities of an individual. In fact, some others were able to postulate specific gene marker of the gifted and bright individuals. Some causes of mental retardation on the other extreme are also likely to be linked with genetic abnormalities (for instance, Down syndrome or Trisomy 21).
However, looking on the everyday scenario that I witness, the effects of environmental factors are really there. One can easily identify the likely outcomes of learning in a very conducive environment with all the necessary materials and support for optimum learning. Same thing goes when predicting the effects of poverty in gaining understanding. This however is something generalized, and case-to-case basis must be considered.
Personally, I wasn’t able to take any standardized IQ test for me to objectively describe my level of cognition. Way back in 1st year college, we took a certain “modified” IQ test in our psychology class. The result was good but I never regarded it so seriously, as I believe it does not define my total intelligence. I always carry the belief that it still depends on us, on how we are going to utilize and maximize the abilities that were bestowed upon us by Almighty God. We can always choose to ignore or enrich these blessings as we decide to. In the end, the manner of how we take care of our abilities and capacities will ultimately affect their functioning level, as they are dynamic and relative.