Health

Studies Show You May Get Your Intelligence From Your Mother

Thanks, mom!

Historically, it’s been believed that both parents — mother and father — pass along their intelligence-related genes to each of their children. However, recent research featured in Psychology Spot is claiming that children get their smarts from their mothers.

But why? Women carry two X chromosomes, and X chromosomes house the genes that are linked to intelligence. Because of this, the publication states that children are two times more likely to obtain intelligence genes from their mother.

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Clinical Psychologist, Dr. Keith Whitt confirms, “The Y chromosome in XY men has about a hundred genes, none of which seem to be involved with cognition—thinking, figuring, planning … The X chromosome has a thousand genes, and a bunch of them influence cognition.”

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So in boys, the father passes along the Y chromosome, and the mother passes along the X. But what about when a father passes along his X chromosome to his daughter? The duplicate gene intelligence will be suppressed. Psychology Spot says that the gene coming from a father will be “deactivated.” Likewise, some duplicate traits from a mother’s genes may be suppressed by a father’s genome.

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Of course, it’s important to remember that the environment in which a child grows up also plays a factor in long-term learning, thinking and cognitive function. Scientific American reports that genetics is responsible for only about 50% of a person’s cognitive ability, with external influences making up the rest.

For example, if a child possesses a high IQ, but falls ill with a serious disease, it can hamper their growth and development. Likewise, if a child has an extremely high IQ, but does not receive nurturing, coaching and supportive education from his or her parents, he or she may fall behind.

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So if you consider yourself to be a smart cookie, go ahead and thank your mom. And if you’re a woman looking for a Y chromosome contributor, remember that the smarts can come from within.

[h/t: Good Housekeeping]