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Archive for September, 2009

Is one’s IQ fixed or can it change over time?

Thursday, September 24th, 2009

There’s nothing permanent except change, goes the adage. Intelligence Quotient (IQ) too, is not permanent (or fixed) and changes depending on a variety of factors.

The level of continued education is a major factor, which induces such change in the IQ level of a person. As one moves up the ladder of education, many new facets of knowledge are thrown open to the mind. That, in turn, stimulates the thought process into hitherto uncharted directions and gives rise to a new set of knowledge parameters for the mind to work in. This enhances the IQ level, which further stimulates such action. In fact, it is a virtuous cycle where knowledge begets more knowledge and higher IQ begets even greater levels of IQ.

Another factor that increases the level of IQ is the use or exercise of the mind or thought processes. This process is similar to that of building muscles in one’s body with the help of physical exercises. While in the former case it involves the exercise of the brain, in the latter it involves exercise of the body. As one pushes the brain to think or exert in any particular productive manner, it results in the higher IQ over time.

According to Stephen Ceci of Cornell University, “IQ scores can change quite dramatically as a result of changes in family environment (Clarke, 1976; Svendsen, 1982), work environment (Kohn and Schooler, 1978), historical environment (Flynn, 1987), styles of parenting (Baumrind, 1967; Dornbusch, 1987), and, most especially, shifts in level of schooling.”

Although some studies have said that IQ scores differ from person to person due to parental or inherited IQ levels, not everyone agrees with this theory. However, there is enough evidence to prove that societal IQ or the strata in the society to which a person belongs to, does play a role in the level of one’s IQ.