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    Impact of Environment on Intelligence

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    How does one's interaction with his environment help improve his intelligence?

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    Intelligence: Interaction with Environment

    Environment and intelligence are two closely related aspects of human well-being. The impact of environment on intelligence is one of the most important factors in understanding human group differences in intelligence and other measures of cognitive ability. Initially our neuronal connections are completely undifferentiated. Neurons make connections with neighboring neurons, and these become more complex and more idiosyncratic with age and halts at the age of 16.

    The capacity of the brain to adapt its connections to environmental stimuli diminishes over time, and therefore it would follow that there is a critical period for intellectual development as well. While the critical period for the visual cortex ends in early childhood, other cortical areas and abilities have a critical period that lasts up through maturity (age 16), the same time frame for the development of fluid intelligence. So for a person to develop certain intellectual abilities, they need to be provided with the appropriate environmental stimuli during childhood, before the critical period for adapting their neuronal connections ends. It should be mentioned that some researchers believe that the critical period effect is a result of the manner by which intellectual abilities are acquired—that changes in neuronal connections inhibit or prevent possible future changes. However, the critical period is observed at approximately the same age in all people, no matter what level of intellectual ability is achieved.[1]

    Environmental influences on intelligence:

    A. Sociocultural:

    1. Family:
    Having access to resources of the home, and having a home life conducive to learning, definitely affects intelligence. However, it is difficult to disentangle possible genetic factors from a parent's attitude or use of language.[2]

    2. Education:
    Education has a complicated relationship with intelligence; it is both a dependent and independent variable.[2] On the one hand, those who did better on intelligence tests in their childhood tend to have a lower drop out rate, and complete more years of school, therefore making intelligence a predictive factor of how well someone will succeed in schooling.[2] However, on the other hand, education has been shown to improve a person's performance on these intelligence tests, from a very young age.[2]

    3. Training and interventions:
    Research on the effectiveness of interventions, and the degree to which fluid intelligence can be increased, especially after age 16, is somewhat controversial. Fluid intelligence is typically thought of as something more innate, and defined as immutable after maturity. One recent article however, demonstrates that, at least for a period of time, fluid intelligence can be increased through training in increasing an adult's working memory capacity. Working memory capacity is defined as the ability to remember something temporarily, like remembering a phone number just long enough to dial it.[3]

    4. Environmental Enrichment:
    MC Diamond is one of the researchers who first explored the idea of ...

    Solution Summary

    Interaction with environment exerts its impact on intelligence.