Darwin’s theories on natural selection can be used to begin the investigation into intelligence, these theories illustrate that humans have changed in terms of appearance and intelligence over time, this has led to mankind being able to survive better (Richards, 2018). In comparison from the Stone Age where Neanderthals lacked intelligence to now there has been a massive shift in terms of intelligence and genetic structure. Galton who was heavily influenced by Darwin’s theories concluded that human breeding was thought to be deployed to produce a ‘superior’ species (Galton, 1904). This essay is going to look at individual’s intelligence and how the biological inheritance plays a part in an individual’s inheritance, this essay will look at the biological approach and how this can vary in individuals based on their heritability. This essay is going to use studies to back up these theories on intelligence these theories and conclude on how this might play a part on recruitment for university places demanding a higher standard of intelligence.
The biological approach is concerned with human behaviour unlike the other approaches it uses genetics and evolution to try and explain human behaviour, such as brain structure, chemicals within the brain and hormones. Behaviour is thought to be heavily influenced by brain structure a study that supports this is Phineas gage, a man who suffered a severe brain injury after a metal rod was propelled through his skull, as a result Phineas suffered greatly in terms of his mental and emotional condition but physically was unharmed (Steve Twomey, 2010), this supports the evidence that behaviour is indeed heavily influenced by the brain and how it is functioning, this could be a contributing factor when looking at ideal candidates for university, because if a person has lost the ability to use part of their brain it will affect their behaviour which may mean they might struggle to get work done or have a basic understanding of the subject. Intelligence is not as simplistic as book reading, academic skills or tests taking, it is more complex and reflects a deeper understanding for our surroundings and comprehensions (Gottfredson, 1997) suggested that intelligence amongst other things involves the ability to reason, plan, problem solve and learn quickly and learn from experience.
Having knowledge is an important part of being intelligent, intelligence can be measured in several ways such as IQ testing, the Binet-Simon scale which is the first psychometric intelligence test, which was used identify learning difficulties for young children, intelligence predicted behaviour and school performance, when recruiting for university it may be advisable for universities to look at school records and any psychometric tests that had previously done. Another test is Raven’s progressive matrices (1938) which uses patterns assessing a person’s ability to complete puzzles and conceptualise images using logic, these tests are all used to measure knowledge from childhood to adulthood. An individual can have a predisposal to be intelligent based on an individual’s genes, it is more than just physical make-up, i.e eye colour, height and weight, genetics can be passed down from generations, if an individual’s parents are clever it is likely that the child will likely follow the genetic footprint (stubberfield, 2018). Contradictory to that, a study was conducted, and it was founded that children who were more secure were more competent in the language area, it seems that language is developed from a more secure childhood. (IJzendoorn, Dijkstra and Bus, 1995) security from a mother is dependent on the environmental triggers that the child is subjected to, for example if a mother was not very present with her child and did not encourage talking and reading, the likelihood of the child excelling at reading may not be as likely as opposed to someone who had a very engaged mother. This could mean that university’s may only want to recruit students that have a family history of higher education which will provide a security that the student will be more likely to succeed, if a mother was not around much for the child and the child suffers with attachment issues the outcome may mean that the child may have the tendency to dodge responsibilities as it is a learnt behaviour. It is suggested that heritability is linked to personality (Revelle, 1995). It is important to emphasises that just because a parent is clever does not necessarily mean the child will be, it just means that the child has access to the gene, that gene sometimes only comes to surface when it has been exposed to a trigger, for example if a mother has a high IQ and teaches her child to read, write and their times tables it is likely that the gene will surface however, if the mother has the high IQ and does not read, or do these things with her child it may result in the child not being able to access the gene, the same can be said for parents who have a low IQ, If this is flipped the other way round for example a child who has grown up a part from their parents (especially if the parents have a lower IQ) and get the right access to education and study hard they may still be able to achieve a good education resulting in higher education this would be based purely on environment which may give the conclusion that it is not just one influence that can be used to explain intelligence but that genetics also has a massive part to play.
Howard Garner proposed that there are eight different types of intelligence within his multiple intelligence’s theory. These are; linguistic, logical – mathematical, musical, spatial, bodily kinemetric, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and nature. Gardner, H. (1983;2003) Gardner’s believed that each of these concepts had value but that some that were more over emphasized than others. Another way of understanding genetics and environmental influences are twin studies, these have been used within psychology for a long time, the reason for this is because it allows researchers to examine genes and the development of traits, it also gives an insight into nature (genes) vs nurture (environment). Mozygotic (identical twins) share 100% of their genes whereas dizygotic (fraternal twins) share only 50% of genes. If monozygotic and dizygotic twins share the same traits to the same extent it would suggest that the environmental influences the trait, rather than it being genetic however, if they do not share the same traits it would suggest that it is genetic trait rather than the influence of environmental traits (Klump, 2018). A study was conducted to measure personality constructs and peer reports using the big 5, using 660 Mozygotic of which 200 were the same sex and 104 opposite sex Dizygotic twins, the study concluded there was substantial genetic influence on the big five within the peer reports and self-reports, further backing up evidence that genetic influence seems to be more dominant that environmental influences. (Riemann, 2018) There is overwhelming evidence to suggest that identical twins share mainly genetic traits whereas fraternal twins share mainly environmental traits. Another study was conducted in which two twins were raised apart for their whole life the twins finally came together at the age of thirty- nine, when they reconnected the twins founded that they both suffered with headaches, drove the same car and went on holiday to the same destination (Lewis, 2018) further backing up the genetic theory that many twin studies have proven. Interestingly it was founded that when pictures of fraternal twins were taken, they had different postures but when the identical twins had their pictures taken, they had the same posture (Lewis, 2018) is seems that identical twins have a deep connection which is undeniably the cause of sharing 100% of genetic make-up. This may mean that when the university recruitment team are choosing students for university they may look more favourably upon identical twins, due to evidence suggesting it is genetic therefore they may be more likely to excel academically.
This essay has outlined the biological approach, giving a brief introduction to brain structure and provided a study based on this, this essay has looked at predisposal and hereditability summarised with a study on parental attachment and how this could affect recruiting for university placements. This essay has highlighted intelligence and what that is using different theories and illustrated that intelligence is more than just being clever using Howard garner’s theories. It has given brief examples of what different kind of tests there are to test intelligence. This essay has used twin studies to illustrate how genetics plays a part in behaviours and this influences decisions on university recruitment. Using the different theories and studies this essay has analysed the importance of both genetic and environmental influences on behaviourism, there is a lot of evidence for genetics such as brain structure, hormones and chemicals, this was evident in the various studies used within the essay alongside the evidence supporting environment influence. These theories have been helpful to illustrate what potential university recruitment teams maybe looking for, this essay has made valid points in terms of what may hinder or help choose suitable students for a university, one of the points made on an application is asking if the applicant has had any family go to university, this is because the university want to know how successful the applicant may be in completion of the course, by looking at the genetics from parents to offspring, they can get a better idea of how likely this is, another point to follow on from that is grades, if an applicant is younger the university is likely to ask the applicant to have at least 5 GCSE’s, level A-C and A levels this is too show that they can keep up with the work load and are educated enough however, if an applicant is mature 23 plus they may not look entirely at these grades due to generally assuming the applicant has more experience, aside from that the likelihood of them dropping out and lowering the university’s statistics are lower because the general assumption is that the older they are the more serious they are about studying. To summarise, there is not just one influence that can explain human behaviour, using different theories can give an insight into behaviours especially relating to recruiting applicants for university placements.