Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Did you know that intelligence is inherited from mothers?


Smart people should thank their mothers because, according to researchers, their mothers are mainly responsible for transmitting intelligence genes. Thus, gender stereotypes that have survived for centuries are perhaps about to disappear. Single women who want an intelligent child don’t need to look for a Nobel Prize at the nearest sperm bank and it is likely that men will begin to see the intelligence of women as an important part of their attraction.

At the basis of this idea are found what are known as “conditioned genes”, that behave differently depending on their origin. Basically, these genes have a kind of biochemical tag which allows their origin to be traced and even reveals if they are active or not within the descendant cells. Interestingly, some of these conditioned genes work only if they come from the mother. If that same gene is inherited from the father, it is deactivated. Obviously, other genes work the opposite and are activated only if they come from the father.

Mother's genes go directly to the cerebral cortex, those of the father to the limbic system

We know that intelligence has an hereditary component, but until a few years ago we thought that much of it depended on the father as well as on the mother. However, several studies revealed that children are more likely to inherit intelligence from the mother, because intelligence genes are located on chromosome X.

One of the first studies in this area was conducted in 1984 at the University of Cambridge, followed by many others over the years. In these studies the co-evolution of the brain and the conditioning of the genome was analyzed, leading to the conclusion that maternal genes contribute most to the development of the thought centers in the brain.

During the first experiment, researchers created embryos of rats that only had genes of the mother or of the father. But when it came time to transfer them to the uterus of an adult rat, the embryos died. So it was discovered that there are conditioned genes which are activated only when inherited from the mother and that are vital to the proper development of the embryo. On the other hand, the genetic heritage of the father is essential for the growth of the tissue that will form the placenta.

At that time, the researchers hypothesized that if these genes were important for the development of the embryo, it was also likely that they could play a major role in lives of animals and people, maybe they could even result in some brain functions. The problem was how to prove this idea, because embryos with genes from only one parent died quickly.

The researchers found a solution: they discovered that embryos could survive if normal embryonic cells were maintained and the rest were manipulated. This way they created several genetically modified laboratory mice that, surprisingly, did not develop the same way.

Those with an extra dose of maternal genes developed a bigger head and brain, but had little bodies. Conversely, those with an extra dose of paternal genes had small brains and larger bodies.

More deeply analyzing these differences, the researchers identified cells that contained only maternal or paternal genes in six different parts of the brain that control different cognitive functions, from eating habits to memory.

In practice, during the first days of embryonic development, any cell can appear anywhere in the brain, but as the embryos mature and grow, cells that had paternal genes accumulate in some of the emotional centers of the brain: the hypothalamus, amygdala, the preoptic area and the septum. These areas are part of the limbic system, which is responsible for ensuring our survival and is involved in functions such as sex, food and aggression. However, researchers have not found any paternal cells in the cerebral cortex, which is where are developed the most advanced cognitive functions, such as intelligence, thought, language and planning.

New studies, new lights

Of course, scientists have continued to investigate this theory. Robert Lehrke, for example, revealed that most of a child’s intelligence depends on the X chromosome. He also showed that since women have two X chromosomes, they are twice as likely to transmit characteristics related to intelligence.

Recently, researchers at the University of Ulm, Germany, studied the genes involved in brain damage and found that many of these, especially those related to cognitive abilities, are found in chromosome X. In fact, it is no coincidence that mental disability is 30% more common in males.

But perhaps one of the most interesting results in this sense comes from a longitudinal analysis conducted by the Medical Research Council Social and Public Health Sciences Unit in Glasgow, Scotland. In this study, 12,686 young people aged between 14 and 22 years were interviewed every year since 1994. The researchers took into account several factors, from skin-color and education to socio-economic status. They found that the best predictor of intelligence was the IQ of the mother. In fact, the young people’s IQ varied only an average of 15 points from that of their mothers.

Genetics is not the only factor

Besides genetics, we can also find other studies that reveal the mother plays an important role in the intellectual development of children, through physical and emotional contact. In fact, some studies suggest that a secure bond is intimately tied to intelligence.

Researchers at the University of Minnesota, for example, found that children who have developed a strong attachment with their mothers develop a capacity for playing complex symbolic games at the age of two years, are more persistent, and show less frustration while problem solving.

This because a strong bond gives children the security necessary to explore the world and the confidence to solve problems without losing heart. In addition, these mothers also tend give their children a higher level of support in solving problems, thus helping to further stimulate their potential.

The importance of the emotional relationship for the development of the brain has been demonstrated by researchers at the University of Washington, who revealed for the first time that a secure bond and the love of the mother are crucial for the growth of some parts of the brain. For seven years, these researchers analyzed the way mothers relate with their children. They found that when the mothers were emotionally supportive and adequately fulfilled their children's intellectual and emotional needs, the hippocampus of the kids at age 13 was 10% greater than that of children of mothers who were emotionally distant. It is worth mentioning that the hippocampus is an area of ​​the brain associated with memory, learning and stress response.

Of course, this not to say that the relationship with the father should not be as fully developed, just that because of our social structure, including some of the gender stereotypes that still remain, it is usually the mother that spends the most time with her small children.
Can we really talk about hereditary intelligence?

It is estimated that between 40-60% of intelligence is hereditary. This means that the remaining percentage depends on environment, stimulation and personal characteristics. In fact, what we call intelligence is nothing more than the ability to solve problems. But the curious fact is that to solve problems, even a simple mathematical or physical one, the limbic system also comes in to play, because our brain works as a whole. Thus, even if intelligence is closely linked to the rational thinking function, it is also influenced by intuition and emotions, that genetically speaking, are influenced by the contribution of the father.

Moreover, we must not forget that even if a child has a high IQ, we must stimulate that intelligence and nourish it throughout life with new challenges. Otherwise that intelligence will stagnate.

Despite what may be influenced by genetics, fathers should not be discouraged because they also have much to contribute to the development of their children, especially by being emotionally present. The IQ with which we are born is important, but not decisive.

Luby, J. L. et. Al. (2012) Maternal support in early childhood predicts larger hippocampal volumes at school age. Journal of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences; 109(8): 2854–2859.
Der, G. et. Al. (2006) Effect of breast feeding on intelligence in children: prospective study, sibling pairs analysis, and meta-analysis. BMJ; 333(7575): 945.
Keverne, E. B.; Surani, M. A. et. Al. (2004) Coadaptation in mother and infant regulated by a paternally expressed imprinted gene. Proc Biol Sci.; 271(1545): 1303–1309.
Zechner, U. et. Al. (2001) A high density of X-linked genes for general cognitive ability: a run-away process shaping human evolution? Trends Genet; 17(12): 697-701.
Gécz, J. & Mulley, J. (2000) Genes for Cognitive Function: Developments on the X. Genome Res; 10: 157-163.
Vines, G. (1997) Mamá, gracias por la inteligencia. El Mundo; 253. 
Keverne, E. B.; Surani, M. A. et. Al. (1996) Genomic imprinting and the differential roles of parental genomes in brain development. Brain Res Dev Brain Res; 92(1): 91-100.
Keverne, E. B. et. Al. (1996) Primate brain evolution, genetic and functional considerations. Proc. R. Soc. Lond. (Biol); 264: 1-8.
Allen, N. D. et. Al. (1995) Distribution of parthenogenetic cells in the mouse brain and their influence on brain development and behavior. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. ; 92(23): 10782–10786.
Surani, M. A.; S. C. Barton & M. L. Norris. (1984) Development of reconstituted mouse eggs suggests imprinting of the genome during gametogenesis. Nature; 308: 548–550.
McGrath, J. & Solter, D. (1984) Completion of mouse embryogenesis requires both the maternal and paternal genomes. Cell; 37(1): 179-183.
Barton, S. C.; Surani, M. A. & Norris, M. L. (1984) Role of paternal and maternal genomes in mouse development. Nature; 311:374-376.
Matas, L.; Arend, R. A. & Sroufe, L. A. (1978) Continuity of adaptation in the second year The relationship between quahty of attachment and later competence. Child Development; 49: 547-556.
Lehrke R. (1972) A theory of X-linkage of major intellectual traits. Am J Ment Defic; 76: 611-619.


Keep feeding your neurons

Did you know that intelligence is inherited from mothers?
4/ 5

Jennifer Delgado Suárez

Psicologist by profession and passion, dedicated to to string words together. Discover my Books


Psychology as you never heard about...

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My former genetic lecturer called this concept 'maternal determinism.' I like researches cited to give depth to that concept in this article. Thanks.

Hello, Nice article. I don't want my comment to be published, but I want you to know there are several English usage errors in this article that make parts of it a little difficult to follow. It might be helpful to have someone proof read it. The first sentence, for example, could be changed to, "Smart people should thank their mothers, because, according to researchers, their mothers are responsible for the transmission the intelligence genes."

Did you know this is utter bs? My daughter's mother barely got her GED, and I was classed as a genius in 2nd grade on, and my daughter is ridiculously intelligent. She sure as anything didn't get it from her mother or anyone on her mother's side. But thanks for the sexist article.

Her mother and her family are angry bitter argumentative emotionally under developed ... I'll leave it at that. When I tried leaving her, she threatened suicide several times. Her whole family would repeatedly break things in their house, kick their dogs, and yell and scream at each other. My daughter didn't inherit these behaviors, but she mimics them, except when she's alone with me.

I guess if you read about a few studies on the internet though than they must be true.

I sent this article to my son. lol

Yes, kids can inherit intelligence from their parents! It can be in specific areas as well. Both my husband and I were very good in math, all of my kids are excellent in math! The biggest thing I believe in is reading to your kids while in utero and after they are born! We read to ours kids while in utero and many years after but up until 5 yrs old is the key! Our two oldest went on to graduate from High School under the International Baccalaureate program and were members of the National Society for High School Scholars. Our youngest had ADHD but didn't struggle as most kids with ADHD did since she had medication to help her concentrate, encouragement from us and those first years of reading to her!! She also had higher classes in High School such as College Prep! Our oldest went on to College and graduated while a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars! All my kids were excellent as students! I was a very good student when growing up as well, math being my favorite subject and I had College Prep classes. My husband had struggles because he had ADHD and dyslexia as well!! He was not given any help with his struggles!! So, it doesn't just take inheritance of your parents intelligence but nourishing your kids knowledge and getting them help if needed so they don't fall behind!!

This article is intriguing and relatively well-cited, but its grammar and spelling issues detract significantly from the sense of authority it could convey on this (or any) subject. Hopefully just a translation issue that can be easily fixed?

Thank you Christa. The translation is made by my husband which is Italian and, of course, the one of the two who speaks better english. He has the patience to translate my articles in english and we both know the quality of the translation is not perfect. Maybe, one day, when the english version of my blog will be more popular we can consider to hire a native speaking translator...

Thank you, I appreciate your contribute. My husband is not native english speaking, and he is the one who decided to start translatng my spanish blog. Maybe one day, when money will permit it, we will hire a professional translator. Anyway, thanks, I will chnage the sentence you mention...

this is an excellent article but can you correct the spelling of "RESPONSABLE" to "Responsible" & responsible ?factor?

I'm sorry, but it appears to me that you have similar characteristics to the woman you are publicly bashing. In fact, it sounds like she may be suffering from a mental health condition, but apparently you're too insensitive to even acknowledge that possibility. The two comments of yours that I've seen both sound quite bitter. Honestly, the fact that you're even pouring so much time into some comments on a blog post only proves that you are "emotionally underdeveloped" yourself. By the way, underdeveloped is one word, Mr. "Genius". Your last sentence was incorrect, as well. It should read, "I guess if you read about a few studies on the internet, THEN it must be true." Finally, who cares if your daughter's mother "barely got her GED"? I have a high IQ and resorted to getting my GED, because traditional school just wasn't for me.

I enjoyed your article! Thanks to you and your husband for your time and effort.

One thing that this article fails to mention is that it only affects boys, as girls receive an X chromosome from both parents whereas boys receive an X chromosome from their mother and a Y chromosome from their father.

Intelligence and education are two different things.

You must be the ex-wife...

Thank you for taking time to post this translation for those of us who have not mastered your language. Very nicely balanced between nature and nurture.

Wow... You just described my husband & I. He, top of his class.. Me lucky they gave me a diploma. I won't waste my time going into all the reasons or my history, and I won't tell you I'm smarter than my husband. But I will tell you this, a GED is a pathetic way to gauge someone's intelligence. You might want to do yourself a favor and learn a little about multiple intelligences http://www.institute4learning.com/multiple_intelligences.php The GED only teaches to 2 or 3... You might never pass on many levels where your wife probably excels.

Who cares where the genes come from? Most of the intelligence comes from the environment as the child develops. The initial genetic capital is just that, a starting capital. To make this a woman Vs man issue is trying to polarise a segment of the population most likely to swallow the bait, the hook and the sinker.

Jennifer, thank you for the reply. That explains the grammar issues that were a red flag to me.

I'm curious to know about the intelligence of your own mother, along with how your father treated her in front of you.

Each being has attributes in their own right. Intelligence comes in many forms.. Intelligence from the mother? fine by me.. but then so is baldness! Guys? going bald? blame your mum!

Lol dude you have issues with science and your masculinity.

You do know that intelligence is not based off of the archaic grading system we have in place in schools now...right? Intelligence can shine in many ways; social, logical, progressive, etc...A GED is no way to measure the intelligence of a human being. Many of the brightest minds in history never finished school. Perhaps it was because their intelligence was recognized and nurtured, therefore giving them the confidence to explore. It could be that your wife was robbed of confidence and only needs a person to light the slightest spark in her mind...something to ponder I think.

Hey "genius" you're not supposed to use capital letters��

A truly intelligent person can read the article and not get tripped up by minor grammatical errors.

Traditional education does not measure intelligence. It only proves you can be taught how to think. Self proclaimed genius lol.

This makes the premise of Mike Judge's "Idiocracy" more plausible: the intelligent people stop having children while the stupid people keep breeding, resulting in a world populated entirely by ignoramuses.

I feel sorry for you as you must have had a very rough time with your wife, but its wrong to assume that intelligence = mental stability/nice personality. It must be hard to come to grips with the fact your daughter has inherited some good traits from a woman you so despise.

Reading your post, I am even more convinced your daughter inherited her intelligence from her mother- you were fool enough to marry her, after all.

I don't find it sexist. Most of our genetics do come from our mothers. Don't correct my English or spelling. It is 3:30 in the morning. My mom was not a college educated woman but it didn't stop me from achieving a college education with two degrees. She was an artist and a very elegant and well mannered woman. She did what she thought was right and I respect her for that. You determine what you become in life. You have a mind. You go to school. You have opportunities presented to you as you grow older. Don't hang parents out to dry if you have a life that you are not satisfied with. You are an adult now. Change your life if you don't like what you are. It is never to late to change. Stop the blame game and honor you Father and Mother that all may go well with you. I don't care what they did to you. You wouldn't be here if it were not for them. THE END.

You are correct in your evaluation.

Me too...haha. We are both pretty smart :)

Hey Ms Hearn,
I ain't an english native speaker either, but "the transmission the intelligence genes" ain't good english either, lol.

@ Robert. Contrary to popular belief. Formal education is not a measure of intelligence. Also girls have two x chromosomes which they can inherit from either mum or dad. Also you would be surprised how intelligent your daughter's mum is. I mean she managed to bag you......a genius.

I know this is off topic, but I like your commenting rules! If everyone would adopt those, the Internet would be a better place. Also, I enjoyed the blog post.

Jennifer, you wrote: "But perhaps, one of the most interesting results in this sense comes from a longitudinal analysis conducted by the Medical Research Council Social and Public Health Sciences Unit in the United States."

I looked on the internet and there is a Medical Research Council Social and Public Health Sciences Unit in Glasgow. Are you sure there is an organization with that exact name in the United States?

I'm on facebook. James Ashley Shea

For those people saying "Oh yeah, in MY family my child is ____" etc. You are confusing anecdotal evidence with scientific peer reviewed research. There will always be anecdotal evidence that will conflict with outcomes but they are not statistically significant. If we were to review your anecdotal evidence, we might find there was a lack of educational opportunities, creative encouragement, socio-economic factors, gender biases etc present in that child's upbringing that influenced how their intelligence developed (or didn't develop). So bringing up your anecdotal evidence is fairly pointless to anyone familiar with scientific research.

I take great exception to the conclusion "In fact, it is no coincidence that the mental illness is 30% more common in males." Intelligence has not been proven to cause mental illness and it does affect men and women of all walks of life. If we go with the idea that intelligence is inherited from the mother and therefore impacts the likelihood of mental illness, we have to remember the sons would inherit intelligence as well as the daughters. Ergo, their risk for mental illness is the same for boys and girls. I think it's a huge disservice to the understanding of mental illness to correlate it with a lack of intelligence. Unless of course you have published research and evidence showing a strong correlation between lower intelligence and higher incidences of mental illness.

Many famous people were considered "slow" in their formative years, Albert Einstein being one of them. Just because a person "only obtained their GED" does not mean they are unintelligent. In addition, I know people who excelled in school, but are emotionally and relational inept. Intelligence can be measured in other ways.

I don't think science should be hindered by language.... as long as it explains the concept and idea well enough, minor errors in any language should be acceptable. Science has no boundaries... "the transmission the intelligence genes" though grammatically wrong, could easily be understood.... we all know what the authors intend to say. Cheers!

I agree with mr. unknown's reply re: Ms. Hearn's comment on the author's grammar

Robert, your emotional intelligence is low, especially if you allow your daughter ever to read your comment demeaning her other parent.
Don't talk about it, be about it. I wish love and kindness to you and your family.

Highly unlikely. IQ is a product of genetic diversity and since XY is by definition more diverse than XX, intelligence is inherited from the contributor of the Y gene. Men outnumber women by a factor of 6:1 at IQs of 140 and above for this reason. Men, on average, are smarter than women because they have a greater diversity of genetic material to draw upon (fewer redundant systems).

This article is fascinating! Thank you for translating it and sharing it with us. I would love to read more articles on this topic and happy to help with editing if it's useful!

Ms. Hearn. I am a retired Language Arts teacher. I had NO PROBLEM understanding the post. No wonder, you did not want your post published. You are being judgemental, towards someone YOU know nothing about.

Why does everything have to be sexist, racist, homophobic, etc.? What is wrong with, just the facts. I was married to a, "so called" genius. He was actually dumber than a doorknob.

This is not how it panned out in our family. My exceptionally intelligent engineer husband fathered two exceptionally intelligent engineer sons; and a smart daughter, but not in the league of the sons. We joke in our family that the brains are attached to the Y chromosome. Fortunately, there is more to life than intelligence.

Looking at the distribution of intelligence throughout the entire population of the world, women clump up around the mean of the IQ scale while men are generally below or above the average. This is just a fact. For anyone saying that oppression hides how intelligent women are, these IQ scores are gathered independently of traditional SAT / ACT / or MENSA testing. IQ is measured via brain functionality or memory, speed, conceptualization, etc. So, to make a long story short, even though 60% of graduates are female and men continue failing at schools...the averages of IQ are the same regardless of scholastic achievement, so there's much more involved and hardwired in regards to intelligence than education.

As such, more men are either geniuses or less intelligent while women are more frequently average. This goes without saying, but I'm not at all suggesting there aren't women geniuses or men that are of average intelligence, so please, spare the hyperbolic comments about how your child is a girl genius. That's awesome if she is, but we're talking about averages here for the entire population not specific individuals. That's the only way conclusions can be made in science so please forgive the blanket statements.

Now, contrary to some comments above, most genetic material does not come from the mother. In fact, research finds that the genes / DNA that ends up becoming activated in a child actually comes from the father due the overwhelming majority of genetic mutations from male chromosomes. Extending an olive branch here, chromosomes related to intelligence may be more likely to be passed on via the x chromosome (and there is always the sex recessive vs. dominant gene variability) so the study mentioned is still useful but it wasn't understood and reported in a broader context of what the study is about. Many studies sensationalize their results with headlines in order to get more interest and funding for research, so it's important to peel away at what the study is actually saying. So yes, while the baseline of genetic traits for intelligence may have a higher probability of coming from women, it's mutations from males that doom a child to low IQ or skyrocket them to genius status. Again, there are always caveats. There will be instances where some males don't pass on as many mutations and the genetic baseline of a women's genetic material is of genius level and is passed on. Again, we're talking about averages and generality here though!

All that being said, it's equally dangerous to aggrandize gender politics via studies because it doesn't tackle actionable solutions...it just pats one gender on the back over the other. The mother and father are equally integral to the development in a child both genetically and developmentally. As some people mentioned, being born with low or high IQ doesn't doom you to that fate. As such, a far more actionable discussion of IQ is in looking at the difference of intelligence development in children from single vs. two parent households. Again you will find that mother and father are equally crucial. So please stop with the whole "re-evaluate the intelligence of mothers" and the whole female superiority complex. Mother's aren't the end all be all of everything children despite what people like to think and neither is intelligence. High IQ can be just as damning as low IQ in many ways i.e. weirdness, fitting in, fewer mating prospects, so being of average intelligence is better in a lot of ways (better chance of survival and passing on genes over the millennia) but being at extremes can sometimes have it's advantages (lower IQ people are generally happier on average / ignorance is bliss and cursed geniuses change the world...oftentimes not respected until after they've died.

the grammar police is out, get a life,

just because someone does not do well in school does not mean they are not smart, anyone can go to school and study hard and make good marks, this does not make them smart, If you are such a genius why would you have married and had children with such a stupid woman

Hi Jennifer,
I absolutely love this article and the research it describes. Fascinating. My first thought was that the countries which do not eliminate female babies or minimize female children (through-out their lives) may be the countries which have progressed the most. Thank you for sharing!

You need to find new researchers because my daughters mothers and I have evidence to prove that

You need to find new researchers because my daughters mothers and I have evidence to prove that

So, if they've identified genetic markers for intelligence, then does their prevalence vary by racial group?

Good post. I will be going to that website.

I like your response. Growing up I was (and still am) a bibliophile. I was warned time and time again, if I "read too much", I would "lose my mind." Sixty three later, the loss of my mind hasn't happened.

What about common sense? All of my mother's family, including her, had high IQs and advanced degrees, but absolutely no common sense. My father, on the other hand, was street-smart, with tons of common sense. I lucked out and got the best from each parent.

too many commas, the original was better

so, as I am reading it, the female is responsible for giving the male mental illness ? somebody please tell my wife this ?

Reading above..lol
It came to mind that Borderlines are often attracted to men with NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder).
Nice study...er article ..snort*

As another retired Language Art teacher, I can only say, "picky picky" is a good way to turn people off.I had no problem understanding the article.

Ms. Hearn, you pointed that out graciously and respectfully. Thank you for doing it. I have difficulty reading grammar errors as well and I find that the more I read them, the more often I tend to make them now. We learn what we repeatedly see and hear. I'm so glad the author was agreeable and kind in her response.

Beware of research that supports the intellectual and political trends of the day.

lol, there's a between between smart and intelligent

boys inherit 100% of their intelligence from their mother. girls 50% from the mother and 50% from the father. a boy represents the mother's lineage.

Regarding this article, I can only speak what I've observed regarding my family. My stepdaughter has children by two different men. The female child she had with the stupid man is not intelligent. The male child she had with the not-as-stupid-as-the-first man is highly intelligent. She herself had to take the GED six times to pass. Personally, I think children get their intelligence from their grandparents. *wink*

IQ is influenced by many factors - perhaps only half of those actually even being genetic. Clearly our Creator designed males and females to inherit particular types of intelligence. Therefore, the X chromosomes provide the feminine aspects and the Y the male characteristics of mental acuity. We are biologically intended to be balanced and complimentary to each other. There is no disputing this obvious fact.

Well then... there you go... it is a good thing everyone has a mother!

Why is it a problem to politely ask for correct English? The original comment and follow-up were polite, and the desire for proper grammar and spelling aren't outlandish. This isn't a political issue. It's just courtesy. And once the OP explained her situation it ceased to be an issue.

Well, intelligence is not necessarily related to academic achievement, now is it? It's simply related to intellectual capacity. You, who were categorized as a "genius" in the second grade (btw there is no intelligence test that has "genius" as a category - I'm a psychologist and I give those tests for a living, so no, that's incorrect) and yet you chose to marry someone who had low academic achievement. This means that she may be truly intelligent but she was, for whatever reason, unable to finish school. I would wager a guess that she was very intelligent but had at least one horrible, demeaning parent or unhappy family situation that made it impossible for her to finish high school. Plucky as she was, she got a GED (which suggests that she chose to obtain that test - she certainly didn't have to) and then she married some smart guy who was as emotionally demeaning and treated her like the other assholes she grew up with. The asshole, being you. So, hopefully, your daughter will sort this out and fly to her mother who by now, may have had some kind of realization that there are a variety of ways to be intelligent. You, on the other hand, might want to go read about narcissism.

Also there is a misuse of a comma in the suggested edit from Ms Hearn - if you remove the content between the commas, you're supposed to be able to read as a complete sentence, but if you remove that because it makes no sense:

"Smart people should thank their mothers, because, according to researchers, their mothers are responsible for the transmission the intelligence genes."

If we're going to nitpick, you should edit it as -

"Smart people should thank their mothers because, according to researchers, their mothers are responsible for the transmission of the intelligence genes."

With that said, our brains are smart enough to understand this even with the errors. really informative article. thank you for sharing it!

Ironically, Ms Hearn's alternative example is also incorrect.
I had no problem understanding the post. Ignore grammar snobs, they're often not so proficient themselves.
My husband is a non-native English speaker as well. He writes books in English and occasionally a grammar snob pops up to critique his writing style rather than the content of his books. Fortunately, they are few and far between.
Thank you for the article, it was very interesting.

Ironically, Ms Hearn's example is also incorrect. I note that most people complaining about grammar here are not native English speakers. Rest assured, for the most part, native speakers are not as pedantic about grammar. I had no problems understanding your article at all. Grammar snobs abound - just ignore them :)
Thank you, your article is very interesting.

"Change your life if you don't like what you are. It is never to late to change."
Did you try to do that in your adulthood? From your comment it comes obvious you did not.
You had your mom who took care about your education. What about those whose parents did not do that? What about those who were brought up in a criminal or depraved environment? I am always getting sick when I read anything coming from such a narrow-minded brain that is only capable see one side of the story. Your uneducated mom did a very bad job not to show you the complexity of this world. Because she was uneducated it would explain this deficiency. Poor you. On the other hand, "very elegant" and "well mannered" people are mostly snobs that just takes care of themselves and theirs only. This would also explain your attitude that you inevitably inherited from you mom.

OOps. the transmission "of" the intelligence genes.

Dear Stageangel, Ms. Hearn was not being judgmental. I'm sure she asked not to be published because she was privately offering a helpful suggestion to improve the article. As a retired teacher you should know that it is better to praise publicly and correct in private. I'm a retired high school teacher. I always stressed to my students that when writing for a public audience, correct spelling and grammar add to the credibility of the writing.
Ms. Delgado, This information is quite interesting. Also thank you for the edit/translation clarification, he actually did a great job. Maybe, rather than paying a translator you might email your articles to someone with editing experience. I always emailed to a friend who taught high school English, and a friend who is a college professor.
I look forward to reading more of your work.

You're kind of a bitter, whiny genius.

I think there are some significant problems with this article, and it should (in the spirit of providing only the best information) probably be amended. In particular, the conclusions with regard to the influence of maternal vs paternal IQ are not warranted.

1. We don't know what proportion of 'IQ genes' are found on the X chromosome.

2. There is no reference to a study that directly compares the influence of paternal IQ vs maternal IQ on offspring IQ. Thus we can't say anything about the relative contributions.

3. The one study you talk about that might tell us this is the one referenced as "Medical Research Council Social and Public Health Sciences Unit in the United States." I can't find this study. There is a study by the MRC (UK) which uses longitudinal data from the US, but this only looks at maternal IQ. Could you provide the reference for the study you mention?


Assuming the findings concerning the positioning of the genes for intelligence on the x-chromosome are correct, I suggest the text should state even more correctly "all smart men should thank their mothers, and so should the majority of their female peers...":-)

The UK MRC has published a number of papers using US longitudinal data. None of them have anything to say with regard to the relative influence of maternal and paternal IQ, but do show that maternal IQ is a significant predictor of child IQ (I don't think father's IQ was measured).

Wow! He's Italian translating Spanish to English? He did an amazing job! You don't need to hire a translator, just find a native English speaker to proofread and edit. I always emailed to a friend who taught high school English, and a friend who is a college professor.
I look forward to reading more of your work.

I disagree. My birth mother is daft as a post,and my adoptive mother was incapable of bonding. My 152 IQ and my innate emotional capacity is an anomaly.

Thanks for presenting a larger picture! Well written!

"Researchers at the University of Minnesota, for example, found that children who have developed a strong attachment with their mothers develop a capacity of playing complex symbolic games at the age of two years, are most persevering and show less frustration during the troubleshooting."

I was the primary caregiver for my son for his first 4 years since my wife was in residency and working long hours. So my son didn't benefit from his developing a strong attachment with me, his father, since I wasn't his mother?

So a child's intelligence is mostly inherited from their mother and the rest of their intelligence is determined by their bond with only their mother? Hmm.

I smell the slight odor of feminism in this article. I'd also like to know why a single woman would go to a sperm bank to have a child when statistically children from single parent homes don't fare well compared to children raised with both parents. Also just because the gene for intelligence comes from the mother doesn't mean the mother is intelligent. If you have a genetic disorder, you inherited the bad gene from your parents but that does not mean that either of your parents have the same disorder.

I seriously doubt using the GED test rather than completing high school is any way to gauge a persons "intelligence".It also is not a good indicator of who will and won't "do well in life". There are so many other factors to consider.
I had to yank my son out of school and have him take the GED instead. It had nothing to do with his lack of intelligence but rather his gifted level of intelligence. His IQ tested at 136 in 10th grade.He also has ADHD. He was so bored with school he kept getting himself into trouble and attempting to "self medicate" with illegal drugs.
Although yanking him out of school saved him from drugs and alcohol he still is left with the problems of his ADHD and the resulting emotional instability making him unable to be very productive in society. He is 33 and still not able to hold a job very long much less use his intelligence to "better society" his family or even himself.
I am female and also test in the gifted ranged at 132.Never did drugs. Never drank.(able to learn from other peoples mistakes) If I have ADHD it is so mild it does not affect my ability to function well in society nor cause emotional disturbances in me.I graduated high school and am a full time nurse.
My father tested at 155.He also had mental health issues.He was a heavy alcoholic most of his adult life.Deep depressions. He was able to breeze through testing to gain a good job as a maintenance mechanic and was able to keep that job only because there was a union there or he would have been fired for the amount of call offs he had over the years due to his emotional instability. What a waste of his intelligence too. He died of cancer at 65.
I am STILL amazed at the things he was able to do, process and comprehend yet never had the motivation to do anything with any of it. Not for society, not for his family, not for himself. He could have done so much good in the world if he just had the drive and emotional stability to actually USE his intelligence.
As for the genetics of inheriting your intelligence from your mother? I also doubt that is cut and dried either. It is quite clear where mine came from.
My mother, grandmother, great grandmother were all of "average" intelligence on BOTH sides of the family. My father, his father and my great grand father on his side were all of "higher intelligence".
I am not really sure how I even managed to wind up with mine quite frankly.I suppose I am just a fluke. In our family it seems to be predominantly the males that wound up with the "higher IQ's".
Not that any of our females were ever of low "IQ" but none that I am able to find are gifted or genius level intelligence,some indeed above average though.
What good is having a "higher intelligence" if you can do nothing to help society your family or even yourself with it?
Finding the cause and cure of the mental health issues that are so strongly linked to the higher intelligence people seems to be far more important than "who gave you the intelligence"?
I would much rather be down here with the lower level of intelligence with the emotional and mental stability to actually use what I do have for some type of good.

Gawd help Paris Hilton's kids....

So Robert....you sound like an intelligent man. What is your level of education and why do you assume that educational level is equivalent to intelligence.

It's also why they die younger!

You don't sound like a genius to me. What was your own mother's IQ? Just because someone is uneducated or poor doesn't mean they don't have a high IQ. You sound bitter.

The ability to get one's GED is not a formal measure of intelligence. Given your rather hateful comments, I'm having doubts about whether you were "classed as a genius."

Alright this is interesting. I have heard almost a decade ago that intelligence came from the mother's side, not necessary directly the mother. Question is can intelligence skip a generation? The reason being is my mother does not really have more than an average intelligence, I on the other hand have a higher than average. Also her father, my grandfather was a genius. He did top secret things for the Navy. He did a lot with mathematics before it was ever discovered. I understand math a lot easier than talking. Guess my main curiosity can it skip a generation?

considering how many stupid people are in this world i wouldn't brag about this....

Ms. Hearn,
You might want to proofready your response. First of all, "proofread" is one word (not two: "proof read"). Second, the last sentence you wrote is incorrect: "...their mothers are responsible for the transmission the intelligence genes." Just a reminder to "Judge not, lest ye be judged."

Intelligence and education are NOT synonymous! Your daughter's mother may have been outrageously brilliant, but had undiscovered dyslexia, or some other undiagnosed learning problem, or simply lack of educational opportunity! If YOU were classed as a genius, you can thank your mother too. However, what have you accomplished with your genius? Certainly, you have failed in the understanding and compassion department. My husband, a Social Worker, tested a woman client, whom everyone thought was an idiot, and she tested out as "genius" too, and every one of her children is also very intelligent! However, regardless of any intelligence rating, what a person accomplishes with that intelligence, is the actual "proof of the pudding."

i enjoy for this articel thanks for you

..... responsible for the transmission of the intelligence genes"
..... responsible for transmitting the intelligence genes" *


But yes I agree with you Mrs. Hearn.

if these genes are carried only on the x chromosomes what about girls brilliance and the X chromosome that the father contributes to her girls?

I am the father of four daughters who are all pretty intelligent. Three went to Oxbridge and the other has two degrees. When they were growing up my wife went on her own to a teacher/parent evening at their school. The teacher, looking for a genetic explanation, said to my wife : "Your daughters are all very intelligent. So is your husband intelligent, then?". To which my wife instantly replied : "No".

I read all your comments and I appreciate your interest and tips. Thank you Susan, soon we will be considering to use a proofreader to fix all the grammar of our articles. Just need time, and a little more money of course...Thanks again...

Thank yoy James. You're right, I managed too many sources and missed up some address. Now I correceted the name inside the post, is a scottish center as you say. Thanks again...

Thank you. I already fixed the source of the study with MRC UK.

This research was realized with mothers because in the society we live in, they are those who care for children, at least in the majority of the cases. However, this doesn't mean that children can't benefit of their fathers care too, of course.

My mother was not really bright in school but graduated.She had emotional intelligence and loved to read. Most of my siblings and I love to read. My father quit high school at 16 and was very good at knowing how to fix anything, fish, hunt, provide opportunities for us to learn what he knew. He taught me computer language , it was a lot of math. I do not believe in only standardized testing to establish intelligence. I did score high in IQ testing, but it means nothing unless I can put that knowledge to work in real life.

Read the whole article....lack of intelligence by the same measure is also more likely to come from the mother.

Intelligencs does not come ftom the environment. it is innate. what comes from the environment is knowledge. Being intelligent does not imply being knowledgeable, and vice versa. For example, a computer is a dumb machine but stores a lot of knowledge in its memory. A genius may not know much if he did mot have the benefit of a good education, formal or informal, say like Tarzan growing up in a jungle alone.

I am deeply disappointed by the tone of many of the comments here. An uninvited correction of someone's English usage is rude, and should be done only if necessary to achieve understanding. Now: I appreciate the citations given as well as the information itself. I have always credited my father (MA degree earned in 1937) for my intelligence -- but in 1955-56 I chose for a wife a woman I knew to be at least my equal. We had taken many college classes together, and she did at least as well as I. Sure enough, our four children are all sufficiently bright to do well in the world. All four have a bachelor's degree; three also earned an advanced degree. More importantly, they function in society, have stayed out of jail, are raising our grandchildren to do well. Obviously many factors are important in becoming a functioning human besides intelligence.

Above, anonymous father with four daughters who are all pretty intelligent. Your response was hilarious! I think someone who can laugh at themselves and not take everything so seriously shows a ton of emotional intelligence!!! Be this article true or not, as a mom it was still fun to read.

Is intelligence a synonym for smartness? I wish you had said smartness transmits from mothers. IQ tests do not measure the ability to face tough situations but ability to face tough artificial (often unrelated to life) questions.

I find it a little dubious as the newest reference is from four years ago and most of the sources are from non- peer reviewed journal articles as old as 30 to 40 years ago. Certainly, scientific study may have developed to debunk or prove as half truths within the last 30 or so years. I'd take this blog with a grain of salt as this is an actual reference used in the article...Barton, S. C.; Surani, M. A. & Norris, M. L. (1984) Role of paternal and maternal genomes in mouse development. Nature; 311:374-376. Surely mouse and human brains are not identical...correct?

We must remember that intelligence is not enough. Intelligence plus character -- that is the goal of true education. The complete education gives one not only power of concentration, but worthy objectives upon which to concentrate. The broad education will, therefore, transmit to one not only the accumulated knowledge of the race but also the accumulated experience of social living.

If we are not careful, our colleagues will produce a group of closed-minded, unscientific, illogical propagandists, consumed with immoral acts. Be careful, brethren! Be careful, teachers!

Linus Pauling was awarded two Nobel prizes, was a month late publishing his own DNA paper which would have resulted in a third (instead of Watson & Crick), laid the foundation for organic chemistry, was behind many scientific applications that greatly affected the American contribution during WWII, and never graduated from high school or received a GED. Neither did one of his sons, who also went on to become a professor of microbiology.

Stereotypes don't always hold true, yet for every Pauling there are literally tens of millions of people who DO make the stereotype the stereotype, specifically that those with a GED are statistically unlikely to be highly mentally functioning. Just because someone has only a GED doesn't make them stupid, but it does make them less educated than they otherwise could have been.

On Robert's behalf, he doesn't state WHY his ex-wife barely got her GED, but only insinuates the reason was for lack of intelligence. Obviously hurt by her and her family, his statement was a springboard for a fair amount of unearned abuse. He owes not one self-absorbed, arm chair psychiatrist an explanation.

Anon, thanks for that comment. Glad it brought a bit of mirth. I can assure you this story is absolutely true. Also my wife's response was correct. She is much more intelligent than I and all four daughters agree!

Glad to know it's not just me that disagree with this mess. My birth mother is far from smart. My adopted mother was at least decently smart. She and my adopted father raised two kids that both did well and are smart. I myself am a hell of a lot smarter then my birth mother.

Just because you daughters mother "barely get her GED" doesn't mean she's Not intelligent, she could have just been dealing with other things....as a Teacher I've seen very intelligent students who wander down different paths rather then d
Show how academically there COULD BE with their high intelligence

This "genius" totally failed to understand that his daughter received an x chromosome from both him and her mother - making it completely possible for her to inherit her intelligence from him. Maybe she did get it from her mother after all.

Thanks Suzanne Brown for defending Ms. Hearn. I thought people were too harsh on her. She sounded like she was just trying to help. For all those with harsh comments, you should know that bad grammar reduces the credibility of posts. How can I believe an article that requires in-depth and probably years of research when the writer cannot even write proper sentences? I mean you spend 5 years researching a topic and cannot spare 7 days to correct the grammar? Of course I'll dismiss the content as questionable. But Ms. Delgado's polite response shed all the light necessary. Thanks guys.

As the mother of daughters I heartily applaud the results of this study. It seems that the men of average intelligence who married not so bright but physically beautiful women have, uhh, well, maybe they shouldn't expect much intellectually from their children. 🙄

the genius has completely failed to understand the article. In fact, the article states that the father's genes are primarily responsible for the limbic system, therefore contributing emotional regulation to the progeny.... so the conclusion drawn by the genius does not hold. His daughter may have inherited her mother's intelligence, and her father's greater emotional stability (although, yes, he does sound angry and uncompassionate), in which case he should be happily thanking the genetic Gods for this ideal pairing of parental strengths in the daughter. But the genius cannot seem to comprehend the basic premises of the article.

If a husband was to tell his child's teacher that the wife was not smart, he would be thought of as a jerk. Why don't people hold wives to the same standard when they do things like this?

Unknown #1: When women disagree with articles, I don't see anyone saying that they have "problems with their femininity". Why insult Robert's masculinity just because he had the nerve to disagree with the article?

While I support science, I think that the press and blogs can often have biases in their reporting. For example, this article wasn't titled "Did you know that the genes most crucial for your survival are inherited from your father?" and I don't think that was by chance. It seems that in the general press it is more common stories about women to be spun positively than stories about men. When the story is negative, the opposite is true as well, with stories about men often spun more negatively than stories about women. For example, if scientists had found that genes from the father influenced intelligence, I doubt it would have been mentioned as much in the press because it likely would have been said to be promoting sexist stereotypes.

Presumably this double standard in the press is because people want to be supportive of women because they have historically faced more discrimination than men have. While this is understandable, it is still discouraging to so often see articles that spin things female positively and things male negatively.

We are so screwed! I can't say what I really want to about this entitled generation or the next one. Just look at our school, our cities, our families, our drug problems, parents not parenting, children raising themselves, it's so sad to think that one day these people will be the majority.

I don't see the link. Please provide.

Gotta love how if someone questions an article they get pounced on for it. Sure some intelligence may be passed on but intellect and education is more societal. You can be born with the best of genes but unless you've an environment to develop or expand, I can't say it's any more advantageous to said individual as some of the toxic commentators here have displayed gender or not.

Also back words logic when some praise the insults of another's ex but ridicule the exact same insult for another's ex.

What ever happened to just being equal? Oh right, better to fight amongst ourselves and not pay attention to the bigger picture. Yay, petty difference!

If true then a man's intelligence is never passed down. Odd, considering that the differences in IQ between men and women. The majority of female scores stick around the bell curve and the men less so. They occupy the extremes more i.e. they are the dolts and the geniuses. Also, men perform better in linear learning systems and females perform better in modular systems. I suspect it would be wise not to hardline accept the conclusion of the studies as fact.

Dear Jennifer, this is such an interesting blog post. I hope this does not seem patronising, but I would really like to help out by proofreading it for you and correcting some of the grammar. I understand that you write in Spanish and rely on your husband for translation. I have experience of proofreading and editing academic content, so please let me know if you would like me to do this for you (free of charge, of course).

Dear Jennifer,

Nice article.
Could you point me to the referrence for the statement "This way they found that the best predictor of intelligence was the IQ of the mother. In fact, the ratio of young people’s intelligence varied only an average of 15 points from that of their mothers. " in your blog.

I find the sources to articles in which the studies were done on mice interesting as, one would assume, this is an article about humans. I get that mice behavior has been used in the past to give insight into the human mind its just mice weren't even mentioned in the body of the article. I dislike being mislead so, whether I'm justified in my doing so or not I will take this article with a grain of salt.

Luke, probably because it's much less likely someone would condescendingly imply that the intelligence of a man's children must come from the other parent.

Well now I'm feeling bad for my unborn child. I was hoping she'd have her father's brains. She'll do ok from mine, but I wanted her to have the best. At least she'll still have him as a role model.

I've been telling my son this for years!
As a mother... thank you for the backup. *S*

Hey Ms Hearn, get a life!
The content of the article is the focus. It wasn't written for nit-pickers.

Sorry, have to throw this out there just as a playful observation: Does this mean that stupid women will only produce stupid children?


-wife's IQ:104 (evaluated while teenager) -> normal
-personal IQ:141 (evaluated at I was 14 yo).
-Son's IQ (12yo):151
-First daughter's IQ (9yo):137
-Second daughter's IQ (5yo):not evaluated yet.

They got a lot from my wife, but not IQ.

Well, in this case, I pity my children. No offence dear wife.

Is the article aimed at female emancipation? If the hypothesis is correct, the negative effects of the demographic-economic paradox would be significantly increased.

My daughter's engineering genetics came directly from her father. I do not believe this claim. I know I am intelligent and throughout my life, I have seen genetic components that came from both my parents.

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If you care to read a valid published scientific paper: From Vol. 156 Issue 2 March 2011

"Intelligence is a highly heritable complex trait, for which it is hypothesized that many genes of small effect size contribute to its variability [McClearn et al., 1997; Plomin, 1999]. Almost a decade after the completion of a rough draft of the human genome sequence, major efforts have been undertaken to identify common variations related to inter-individual differences in intelligence. Plomin and coworkers [Plomin, 1999; Plomin et al., 2001, 2004; Butcher et al., 2005, 2008] conducted several genome wide association (GWA) studies and showed significant association of a functional polymorphism in ALDH5A1 (aldehyde dehydrogenase 5 family) (MIM: 610045) on chromosome 6p with intelligence. Whole genome linkage scans for intelligence [Posthuma et al., 2005; Buyske et al., 2006; Dick et al., 2006; Luciano et al., 2006] reported two areas of genome-wide significant linkage for general intelligence on the long arm of chromosome 2 (2q24.1-31.1) and the short arm of chromosome 6 (6p25-21.2), and several areas of suggestive linkage (4p, 7q, 14q, 20p, 21p), following Lander and Kruglyak guidelines [1995]. The region on chromosome 6 (6p25-21.2) overlaps with the locus (6p24.1) identified in the genome-wide association study performed by Butcher et al. [2008]. Converging evidence from these whole genome studies provides support for the involvement of six different chromosomal regions, 2q24.1-31.1, 2q31.3, 6p25-21.2, 7q32.1, 14q11.2-12, and 16p13.3, in human intelligence (see Table I)."

The genes that steer IQ have not been identified, so stating that they reside on the X chromosome is at best speculation. Also, all human cells contain copies of the same genes so "paternal cells" in the brain makes no sense. Especially since these hypothetical "paternal cells" don't have an x-chromosome inherited from the father, and it is the x-chromosome that allegedly makes intelligence?

This article smells of made-up pseudoscience. I wonder what political agenda is behind it.

This is impossible. Your reasoning behind why/how the mother's X-Chromosome contributes to intelligence is genetically wrong. This is pseudoscience written by someone who knows nothing of gene expression and regulation, and references all of 14 sources. Some of these sources date back to the 1980's!? - They aren't reliable. There have been thousands of advances in genetics since the 1980's.

Of course mice with "only paternal genes" would die in-utero. Mammals initially develop as female until Y-chromosome's genes responsible for male sex determination are expressed.

Furthermore, the fact that females inherit two X-Chromosomes would mean - if this article was correct - that females would inherit a near 50/50 split of both parent's intelligence.

Sex Chromosomes are not like autosomes; two X-Chromosomes cannot be co-expressed. Co-expression of two X-Chromosomes is detrimental to the organism and no, this isn't remedied by 'conditioned genes'. It's remedied by X-Inactivation whereby, when early cells start to differentiate, there's a 50-50 chance between either the Father's X Chromosome or the Mother's X Chromosome being almost COMPLETELY deactivated. (It's why tortoiseshell cats can only be female; the black fur is one parent's X-chromosome being expressed and the ginger is the other parent's X-chromosome).

I read all your comments and I appreciate your interest and tips. Thank you Susan,


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