According to Nisbett (2012), “Intelligence . . . involves the ability to reason, plan, solve problems, think abstractly, comprehend complex ideas, learn quickly and learn from experience.” Nisbett goes on to say that intelligence can be best measured by IQ tests. Intelligence is hereditary and there are many environmental factors that influence this. It is also related that IQ can have an impact on academic achievement (Nisbett, 2012). Academic achievement is based on how students excel with schoolwork, exams, or other scholarly goals. Studying can help with academic achievement, whereas intelligence is something that is already there, a deeper understanding. One can set their mind to work hard in order to achieve certain things, while on the other hand, intelligence is an ability that already exists for some. For example, there is the movie of Rain man, where a gentleman by the name of Raymond had a very high IQ and could solve complex problems, but did not have common knowledge of other things due to being autistic (Levinson, et. al, 2004). Intelligence is something that he already had, although he had delays in other aspects.
An environmental factor that can have an effect on intelligence and academic achievement is socioeconomic status. Nisbett (2012) relates that children who live in a low socioeconomic status do not get to fully develop genetic potential if they have a high IQ. This means that the environment has an effect on genetics. A child can be born with a high IQ, but they need to be in an environment that will help them develop that potential they possess. Socioeconomic status has an effect on intelligence and academic achievement because children do not have the same resources and opportunities as other wealthier children. They are not able to fully develop their gifts by going to private schools, getting tutoring, or having literature to develop their brains. They do not receive as much stimulation as would be needed to help them advance.
A biological factor that can have an influence on intelligence and academic achievement as pointed out by Nesbitt (2012) is breastfeeding. Nisbett reports that the IQ of a child can increase by 6 points from breastfeeding. Nutrition is very important for growing children and their developing bodies. I believe the nutrients that come from breastfeeding and the health benefits is something that is very well-known. People always hear that it is better to breastfeed your children versus giving them formula due to all the benefits from breastmilk. Berk (2014) states that there are multiple children who do not have access to food of high quality and this can lead to attention and memory issues as well as low intelligence and problems with behavior. It can be inferred that proper nutrition leads to a healthy development and lack thereof can have effects on intelligence and academic achievement.
Berk, L. E. (2014). Development through the lifespan (6th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.
Levinson, B., Johnson, M., Morrow, B., Bass, R., Hoffman, D., Cruise, T., Golino, V., … MGM Home Entertainment Inc. (2004). Rain man. Santa Monica, CA: MGM Home Entertainment.
Nisbett, R. E., Aronson, J., Blair, C., Dickens, W., Flynn, J., Halpern, D. F., & Turkheimer, E. (2012). Intelligence: New findings and theoretical developments. American Psychologist, 67(2), 130–159. doi:10.1037/a0026699
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