Discover the Science


1. What We Know from Family and Twin Studies:

Studies involving twins and families have shown that genes play a significant role in determining our intelligence levels. On average, about half (50%) of the differences in intelligence between people can be traced back to their genes.
Interestingly, this genetic influence seems stronger in adults (up to 70% or more) compared to children (as low as 20-30%).

2. The Role of DNA:

Advanced DNA-based studies have looked into how our genes affect intelligence. One important discovery is that some genes impact general intelligence (how smart we are overall), whilst others might affect more specific skills or abilities.

3. New Methods and Discoveries since 2011:

Scientists have been studying specific genetic markers, called SNPs, to understand their role in intelligence.
These studies suggest that genes account for about 20-30% of the differences in intelligence when looking at unrelated people.
However, this is a bit lower than the 50% figure from twin and family studies. This difference might be due to the methods used and the specific genes studied.

4. Bottom Line:

Both traditional family studies and modern DNA tests agree: genes play a crucial role in determining our intelligence. However, they might impact in different ways, and environmental factors like education and upbringing are also vital.

With the knowledge that genes can determine specific cognitive strengths, a personalised learning plan can be designed to leverage these innate abilities.
For instance, if a child's genetic makeup predisposes them to excel in analytical tasks, their learning plan might emphasise mathematical or logical challenges.

By aligning education with both our genetic strengths and challenges, we can pave the way for more effective and fulfilling learning experiences.

Deary, I. J., Cox, S. R., & Hill, W. D. (2021). Genetic variation, brain, and intelligence differences. Molecular Psychiatry, 27(1), 335–353.