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Nature OR Nurture. What's Your Theory?





Sometime last year my friend Chocolate and I were in my living room discussing random things when a question I've been unable to satisfactorily answer struck me. So I asked her and we had two divergent views.
When I was in primary school (Fountain nursery and primary school Surulere), we had some really brilliant students, but a few particularly caught my eye because not only were they very brilliant, they were all siblings and super smart. Two families particularly come to mind; the Abes and the Mbonus. 

Coincidentally in both families the kids are all girls, coincidentally also we all wound up in Queen's College. In QC these girls were even smarter. The oldest Abe was a day prefect in her set, the middle Abe who was in my set was in Deputy Head Girl and the youngest Abe was the over all Head girl of Queen's College in 2003. Similar story with the Mbonus, each one was a Prefect in her set. Needless to say, these girls weren't only very intelligent, they were very well behaved, very responsible and model students. 

Admittedly I've had a fascination for those ladies from primary school till date and they were the reason I asked Chocolate that question. Chocolate didn't attend the same primary school we did but she was in QC as well and coincidentally the eldest Mbonu is one of her closest friends, basically she knew who I was talking about and what I meant. Just as an aside, another thing that fueled my fascination besides their brilliance was the fact that these ladies and are all very pretty and the older we've gotten the 'hotter' they've become; they're well rounded individuals who have (averagely) active social lives, even from back then in High School, and not the usual nerdy 'eficos' you'd imagine such smart kids to be. 

There were many others like these ones but I used them as an example because I've known them since we were tots. 

So I asked Chocolate is their superior intellect as a result of genetics or hardwork. 

I opined it's as a result of genetics. Chocolate differed and said it's hardwork. Chocolate said that she noticed really intelligent people like the Mbonus and Abes were made to study and exercise their minds even from a very tender age. While other children watched Voltron and Danger Mouse, their parents made them study, read, do some math, puzzles, board games and introduced them to books by Enid Blyton or the likes when they got a little older. Basically their parents trained them to work their minds, developed those minds and actively monitored their intellectual development. 

I don't necessarily disagree with Chocolate as it's quite absurd to think people excel academically with little or no input, but I generally think that especially in such families where all the children are very intellectual and have high IQs, genetics play a big role. We argued on and on and in the end we agreed to disagree. But what's your own opinion?

What do you think is responsible for a child's/person's brilliance? (Nature, Nuture or other factors. And why?)

Comments

  1. I think it's a combination of both. To me, you can't rule out any.
    Training & hard work gets them the results, but genetics makes it somewhat easier, makes them social.
    The relative ease at which they get good results due to IQ, and being sociable- nature, gives room for social activities too. So they don't turn out to be 'efficos'.

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  2. T I think is all of f above n I wud explain yyy,starting with myself as an example,growing up for me was fun,though I didn't stay with my parents most of my life,but my mum believed or will I say chased money n never had time to emphasize on we d kids leaving d TV set n reading ,though she said it once a while but never buttressed it but personally,I loved to read,at age ten I had READ informative books dat most secondary school students never read,I was determined to brush up myself n read wide which I still do n it helped me so much in LIFE dat during my ND days,I was d vise president of MY set n d governor of my class but younger sis is d direct opposite of me cos she simply followed d trend of not reading though she ain't so dull but wud rate her a 60/100. So in my own case it was nature, n in d above family stated it was nurture while I av a frnd whose brilliance was a result of his family background,dey were poor n he was destined to b educated n make it in life in order to b different n also help his family.

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  3. My dear genetics plays a huge role. Hardly do I see intelligent parents have dull/daft offspring. Although I wldnt exclude that hard work don't contribute (u can't know what u don't know if u don't read and learn on it).
    Remember,marriage isn't just bout you,ensure u or/and ur spouse can give ur kids either the looks,brains or both to survive this life...

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  4. Wande Abe! even in jand too, she excelled!

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  5. Lol. Yes the Abes are exceptional. Small world. Hmm. I think it's both of the two but genetics plays a bigger role. You can work very hard but still be average. With genetics you can excel with minimal hardwork.

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  6. Well T, In some people, it's the combination of both. In others, it's strictly genetics, in yet others, it's strictly hardwork, while in some others, its none of the above, Olodos!
    I know a handful of these 4 categories!

    Now the problem is: I don't know I belong.
    In school, I excelled beyond anyone's imagination even mine. Poor family hence no school books, No much effort on my part like borrowing to read, it wasn't genetic either, LOL. But my brain seals everything a teacher or lecturer says!

    Oh boy I'm a 5th category jaree... #abnormal

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  7. All work nd no play makes jack a dull boy.......d extremely brilliant students don't read a lot, they only glance tru nd off they go for success

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  8. I also want to agree with people who opine that it is a combination of both. Growing up, I didn't particularly have a study period and I could grasp things easily which resulted in my excelling at school but certain technical courses needed hard work as I soon realised. Some courses were just too evaporative to rely solely on actual class listening. The same way I know someone who started out with very poor performance from preteen but she made a conscious effort at some point to dedicate hours to reading - not just studying school texts . Believe me, my friend is better than me right now. If one inherits intelligence (science accords it to about 40%) and becomes lazy about mentally stretching self, it's as good as being dumb, so nurture plays a bigger role.

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  9. It's both of them,my elder sista s friend in secondary sch was an average student till junior waec, when she put in a lot of effort,senior waec she was nominated for the best result in Nigeria Abi West Africa. My younger sis is really smart,my dad a genius made her read and even prepared flash cards for her,she doesn't need to read that much to come out tops in sch,went on to be the best graduating doc,
    I on the other hand though am smart,I just don't like reading and putting the effort,I have a short attention span. It was so bad the day I came home with my waec result my dad wanted a stamped copy lol

    ReplyDelete
  10. it's both but more of nature. That is why you see a family where all kids excel academically. you also see those students in school that read from morning to night yet have poor results while some do little reading but still pass. Hard work sure helps because a naturally brilliant student may need 1 hr reading to make an A, but an average or below average student may need to read for 6hrs or 1 day or 1 week or 1 month or even the whole session to make an A.

    It's good to have smart parents, then throw in early supervision by parents , hard work and boom! People have different IQ which is passed on to offspring. J

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  11. Nurture and Nature, then environment and the food given at the right age. Did you, for instance, know that giving a toddler below 2years groundnuts to eat reduces his chances of having a high IQ? And a toddler of the same age group living in close proximity to a high tension cable is at risk of becoming a dunce later in life?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Interesting indeed.
      -F

      Delete
    2. Wow! Going to check if any high tension cable is around baby must be smart

      Delete
  12. More of nature than nurture. I bet these kids didn't have to wash plate, school uniform, sweep house, go to market and buy Maggi before they do their assignments. I bet they had lots of books in their parents library to read.
    It's got little to do with genetics and plenty to do with what you expose your kids to.
    People's I.Q can increase with lots of training and hard work and time. The world's average I.Q presently is higher than what it was in 1980.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think you meant more nurture than nature.

      Delete
  13. This has been a subject of research, it has nothing to do with genetics! Nurture only, enjoy the story of Polgar.

    Polgár was born on 23 July 1976 in Budapest, to a Hungarian Jewish family. Polgár and her two older sisters, Grandmaster Susan and International Master Sofia, were part of an educational experiment carried out by their father László Polgár, in an attempt to prove that children could make exceptional achievements if trained in a specialist subject from a very early age. "Geniuses are made, not born", was László's thesis. He and his wife Klára educated their three daughters at home, with chess as the specialist subject. László also taught his three daughters the international language Esperanto.

    Judit Polgár (born 23 July 1976) is a Hungarian chess grandmaster. She is by far the strongest female chess player in history. In 1991, Polgár achieved the title of Grandmaster at the age of 15 years and 4 months, at the time the youngest to have done so, breaking the record previously held by former World Champion Bobby Fischer. She is the only woman to qualify for a World Championship tournament, having done so in 2005. She is the first, and to date, only woman to have surpassed the 2700 ELO rating barrier, reaching a career peak rating of 2735 and peak world ranking of #8, both achieved in 2005. She has been the #1 rated woman in the world since 1989 (when she was 12 years old).

    She has won or shared first in the chess tournaments of Hastings 1993, Madrid 1994, León 1996, U.S. Open 1998, Hoogeveen 1999, Siegman 1999, Japfa 2000, and the Najdorf Memorial 2000.

    Polgár is the only woman to have won a game from a reigning world number one player, and has defeated ten current or former world champions in either rapid or classical chess: Magnus Carlsen, Anatoly Karpov, Garry Kasparov, Boris Spassky, Vasily Smyslov, Veselin Topalov, Viswanathan Anand, Ruslan Ponomariov, Alexander Khalifman, and Rustam Kasimdzhanov. On August 13, 2014, she announced her retirement from competitive chess.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think there's a vital thing missing, which would have proved your stand- her IQ before she started receiving the training, isn't stated.

      Delete
    2. She and her sisters were normal girls; read the second paragraph of my comment again, they were part of an experiment conducted by their father.

      Delete
  14. www.eniwealth79.blogspot.com6:45 pm, September 15, 2014

    What of those born by illiterate parents, who even undermine the importance of studying or don't see education as being necessary to their being and yet they excel in their academic pursuit. What category do these ones belong to?

    ReplyDelete
  15. See, it must be understood dat nature/nuture or watever don't play much when there's no WILL from the person. If I don't like to read Physics, no matter how much I read, I won't be excellent in it. Parents shud stop forcing their children to read wat they are not WILLING to read. Although, evironment plays a huge role on wat a person is WILLING to be a part of and enjoy every bit of it without a fuss. See, Indians and medical doctors etc.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Its both genetic and hard work. It's Like saying one has a talent but is still expected to practice often to hone that especial skill.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I have a young lad on the free scholarship programme in my organization. He lost his dad when he was 5 and the mum has only a secondary school certificate. They live in a room in ajegunle. However, the boy and two of his siblings are A plus students. With the high level of poverty they excel. Genetics plays a role but nuture plays a higher role. Their mum make them study, sleep, practice, with the right morals. When this lad tells me abt difficult subjects he spends time studying and practicing until he gets better.

    I got better at school wen I was encouraged by a teacher that I could do so much, prior to that I was so scared of maths. Lots of practice made me a pro at further maths,

    I have a friend I call a dictionary, his words and vocabulary r out of this world. His mum made him use 5 new words everyday since he was 4. Today at 45, he knows virtually the meaning of unusual words in the dictionary. Playing scrabble with him makes me feel dull.

    I have resolved to do same with my kids. My 1 year old plus baby, reads 123, the numbers r not perfect but u know exactly wat she is trying to say. We recite 123 daily, she wakes me up from sleep reciting 123, she carries her board every whr, infact, I tire. At 1 year 6 months, she can trace colors, she places all colors in the same tin, we do this almost daily too.

    Imagine if I keep up at it. It's all about practice practice nuture and the right supervision or guadiance. My hand dey pain me o. Clare

    ReplyDelete
  18. I have a young lad on the free scholarship programme in my organization. He lost his dad when he was 5 and the mum has only a secondary school certificate. They live in a room in ajegunle. However, the boy and two of his siblings are A plus students. With the high level of poverty they excel. Genetics plays a role but nuture plays a higher role. Their mum make them study, sleep, practice, with the right morals. When this lad tells me abt difficult subjects he spends time studying and practicing until he gets better.

    I got better at school wen I was encouraged by a teacher that I could do so much, prior to that I was so scared of maths. Lots of practice made me a pro at further maths,

    I have a friend I call a dictionary, his words and vocabulary r out of this world. His mum made him use 5 new words everyday since he was 4. Today at 45, he knows virtually the meaning of unusual words in the dictionary. Playing scrabble with him makes me feel dull.

    I have resolved to do same with my kids. My 1 year old plus baby, reads 123, the numbers r not perfect but u know exactly wat she is trying to say. We recite 123 daily, she wakes me up from sleep reciting 123, she carries her board every whr, infact, I tire. At 1 year 6 months, she can trace colors, she places all colors in the same tin, we do this almost daily too.

    Imagine if I keep up at it. It's all about practice practice nuture and the right supervision or guadiance. My hand dey pain me o. Clare

    ReplyDelete

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