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Malleability of intelligence

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Malleability of intelligence describes the processes by which human intelligence may be augmented through changes in neuroplasticity. These changes may come as a result of genetics, pharmacological factors, psychological factors, behavior, or environmental conditions. In general, the majority of plasticity as it relates to intelligence occurs at either the onset of development, during the critical period, or during old age. Malleable intelligence may refer to changes in cognitive skills, memory, reasoning, or muscle memory related motor skills.

Charles Spearman, who coined the general intelligence factor "g", described intelligence as one's ability to adapt to his environment with a set of useful skills including reasoning and understanding patterns and relationships. He believed individuals highly developed in one intellectual ability tended to be highly developed at other intellectual abilities. A more intelligent individual was thought to be able to more easily "accommodate" experiences into existing cognitive structures to develop structures more compatible with environmental stimuli.[1]

In general, intelligence is thought to be attributed to both genetic and environmental factors, but the extent to which each plays a key role is highly disputed. Studies of identical and non-identical twins raised separately and together show a strong correlation between child IQ and socio-economic level of the parents. Children raised in lower-class families tend to score lower on intelligence tests when compared to children raised in both middle and upper-class families. However, there is no difference in intelligence scores between children raised in middle versus upper-class families.[2]

The IQs of a large enough population are calculated so that they conform[3] to a normal distribution.


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