Science States Intelligence Is Inherited From The Mother

02 December, 2019
Much has been said about what makes a person intelligent. The truth is that science has shown that intelligence is closely linked to a mother's genetics

This isn’t a myth. Children actually inherit their intelligence from their mothers. Science has confirmed it. We’ve all heard before that intelligence is inherited from fathers. However, it was recently proven that you’ve got your mother to thank for your intelligence.

Cognitive abilities are carried on the X chromosome. The mother’s X chromosomes provides more information for the development of thought-associated brain structures.

How Did Experts Conclude That Children Inherit Their Intelligence From Their Mothers?

Researchers studied mice and realized that there are “conditioned genes” which behave differently depending on whether they came from the mother or father. Scientists gave mice doses of maternal and paternal genes.

The hypothesis was clear: if the genes were essential for embryo development, it was logical to think that these genes affected both organ and brain function. They were divided into two groups: mice with extra doses of maternal genes and mice with extra doses of paternal genes.

Discover: How to Keep Your Mind Fit and Sharp

Mice with Large Heads

X chromosome

Mice with extra doses of maternal genes developed bigger brains but had tiny bodies. On the contrary, mice with extra doses of paternal genes had small heads and overdeveloped bodies. The scientists then began identifying which genes came from the mother and father.

They eventually detected that certain areas of the brain had more maternal cells and others had more parental cells. However, scientists discovered that the cells with more paternal genes accumulated in the area of the brain involved with power, strength, and sex.

In contrast, cells with maternal genes accumulated in the area of the brain that manages language, thought, memory, and intelligence.

Recent Research

In his book Sex Linkage of Intelligence, American scientist Roberth Lehrke suggests that a chunk of the cognitive component of a human being is directly linked to the X chromosome. Also, he proved that women are twice as likely to inherit cognitive traits because they have two X chromosomes.

Lehrke explains that all women have an “unintelligent” and a “very intelligent” X chromosome. However, there may be women with two “really intelligent” X chromosomes, as in the case of the woman with the world’s highest IQ, Marilyn vos Savant.

In the case of men, the Y chromosome doesn’t have a role in cognition. This means that a Y chromosome together with an “unintelligent” X chromosome may produce a mentally retarded person. On the contrary, IQ develops together with a  “very smart” X chromosome.

What Percentage of Intelligence is Inherited?

a child's brain

You’re reading this article to know whether intelligence is inherited from the mother since studies have shown that about 45% to 55% of intelligence is hereditary. That means that a large chunk of intelligence develops if there are appropriate personal and family conditions.

Read about: The Genetic Origin of Sex: the X and Y Sex Chromosomes

Other Factors That Influence Intelligence

  1. Values

Perseverance, effort, discipline, commitment, and interest in learning are factors that influence a child’s intelligence as time goes on.

  1. Autonomy

    a baby playing with toys

A child’s independence is essential as it helps the cognitive process run smoothly. The child needs to define and determine the things they want without being forced to make decisions under pressure.

  1. Confidence

A child who’s confident in their skills can solve any problem that arises in their life, thus developing analytical skills in any situation.

  1. Emotional Bond

    happy mother and daughter

Children who are more attached to their parents tend to overcome frustrations in their lives more easily. In this case, there are studies that also favor the mother and her maternal love.

Final Thoughts

Intelligence is really complex and should be stimulated to achieve satisfactory results. Parents have to contribute to the child’s cognitive development.

Also, a good stimulation through challenges that foster the child’s cognitive development will contribute to their desire to excel. Now that you know that intelligence is inherited from the mother, do intellectual exercises with your child so that you both improve your skills.

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  • Scott Barry Kaufman (October 17, 2013). “The Heritability of Intelligence: Not What You Think”. Scientific American. Retrieved 20 October 2013.
  • Sauce B, Matzel LD, “The paradox of intelligenceHeritability and malleability coexist in hidden gene-environment interplay.”, Psychol Bull. 2018 Jan;144(1):26-47.