Are people born naturally smart?

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Like me, I study so hard on exam and yet I do worse than the guy that never even studied and got a way higher grade
Come on now, that just really shows natural smartness

In: Biology

General intelligence has some heritability, but heritability is not as simple as genetic predetermination of intelligence. The tl;dr is maybe, but it’s really complicated, so functionally impossible to know.

Heritability depends on how stable and resource rich the environment is. If everyone grew up in utopian environments, then there would be a much stronger heritability in intelligence. But most people don’t live in those circumstances. Nutrition and such plays an important role in all development, including intelligence.

That said, it’s also not as simple as two smart people producing a smart offspring. With what I am familiar with, it may actually be more likely that any two smart people having a child would produce an average or below average child. This is because of reversion to the mean (two extraordinary people are extraordinary: it’s unlikely to happen again).

The heritability of intelligence is something that is best understood at population levels, currently (e.g., whole societies). So it’s a lot less easy to say for any one couple what will be of their child.

To answer your question, we’d have to know exactly how the brain works, and how awareness and thoughts are achieved, and unfortunately we don’t really. Neurons are interconnected and fire, transmitting pulses to each other, etc., but there’s a big gap of knowledge going from that to “awareness.” If you look at research and scientific articles on how the brain works, we’ve identified areas of the brain that are responsible for various things (vision, hearing, thought, emotions, etc.), but that’s kinda like “Hey, this area at the front of the car must be responsible for why the wheel spin when you push the gas pedal.”

So yeah, it’s likely that some people are born smart.

But it’s not just that.

[Children go through stages of development](https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/actearly/milestones/index.html), and extensive research points out that the first few months and years are extremely important for a child’s progress; the brain is very hungry for information and the baby progresses in “intelligence and awareness levels” (being able to recognize themselves in a mirror, learning languages, learning to lie / think logically / etc., learning emotions and how to deal with them). There’s a lot of “training of the brain” going on, and parents, grandparents, and other caretakers play a huge role in it.

And then you never stop learning. You always study, learn, and exercise your brainpower, thus improving it.

So ultimately it’s not all “natural”, its also very much “trained”.

People learn in vastly different ways. Public school is designed to be cheap and efficient but it leaves out kids who dont learn well with traditional teaching.

It very often comes down to how many books you read. People who read more books get exposed to not only a greater variety of ideas but to ideas that are discussed at depth. Reading books is different than reading most stuff on the internet as it requires a particular kind of concentration and focus. Reading a book settles the mind and allows one own mind to make connections.

Unless you were born with a disability for an Average person your environment has a greater impact on your “smartness” than any other factor. Everything from your family life, what food you ate, who your friends are, what resources you had available. It’s pretty much established fact that one is not born a Genius but is Trained. Take a look at the [The Grandmaster Experiment](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L%C3%A1szl%C3%B3_Polg%C3%A1r) where a educational psychologist used his daughter to produce the first female Chess Genius.