Teaching, learning and intelligence: M Complex Human Trait
Presented by: Professor Philippe M. Frossard
By: Vice Chancellor's Office
The aim of biomedical researchers in what has been dubbed the ‘Biotech Century is to decipher the genetic, molecular and lifestyle determinants of complex human traits and entities. After centuries of debates, the modern paradigm is that environmental conditions exert their effects through the screen of genetic factors. Among the long list of complex traits, ‘intelligence’ (as measured by standard tests such as A. Binet’s IQ) stands at the heart of the Nature (= genetics) vs. Nurture (= environment) controversy.
Intelligence can be classified into two major types - fluid (ability to recall) and crystallised (ability to synthesise). As information is no longer linear, but random, the emphasis today is on fostering the development of fluid intelligence, which is determined by the genetic make-up of an individual at a level of up to 80%.
Although there is a strong genetic component to ‘intelligence’, it remains un-triggered in the absence of challenging environmental interactions. The question is thus, does the environment create ‘intelligence’ in a person or does a person create challenging environments for him/herself? No matter what, the role of educators is to provide optimal environments so as to ‘trigger’ the genetic component and enhance its effects.