March 26, 2012

Did you know these things about heritability?

I came across a Huffington post article from some time ago written by Scott Barry Kaufman in which he lists 8 Surprising Facts About Parenting, Genes and What Really Makes Us Who We Are. Do the statements below indeed surprise you? Which surprised you most? How convincing do you find Kaufman's explanations?
  1. Genes, By Themselves, Can't Determine Anything: read how genes are developed through the interaction between genes and environment(s).
  2. Parents Matter, And Will Always Matter: read how twin studies do not proof at all that parenting and other environmental factors do not impact development. 
  3. Heritability Depends Entirely On Context: read how the heritability of a characteristic is higher in one type of environment than in another environment. 
  4. The Actual Heritability Value Simply Does Not Matter: just because something is heritable doesn't mean it's immutable. Which environmental factors contribute to the development of which characteristics to what extent is still largely unknown.
  5. Heritability Doesn't Necessarily Have To Do With Biology: Environmental factors influence the development of highly heritable traits just as much as they influence the development of non-heritable traits
  6. Heritability Says Nothing About Whether Intelligence Is More Determined By Genes Or The Environment: It makes no sense to ask whether a particular individual's intelligence has been more determined by nature or by nurture
  7. Twin Studies Do Not Reveal The Causes Of Intellectual Development: Because adoption and twin studies are always correlational, they reveal nothing about the causes of the appearance of the traits
  8. Heritability Is Not The Same As Heredity: Heritability does not tell us how likely it is that people's characteristics will be inherited by their children

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