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Better Brain Wiring Linked To Family Genes

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the meat-based-datacenter dept.

Science 189

Third Position sends this excerpt from PhysOrg: "How well our brain functions is largely based on our family's genetic makeup, according to a University of Melbourne led study. The study ... provides the first evidence of a genetic effect on how 'cost-efficient' our brain network wiring is, shedding light on some of the brain's make up (abstract). Lead author Dr. Alex Fornito from the Neuropsychiatry Centre at the University of Melbourne said the findings have important implications for understanding why some people are better able to perform certain tasks than others and the genetic basis of mental illnesses and some neurological diseases."

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Uh oh (2, Funny)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#36003700)

My family tree is a most wretched hive of scum and villainy. Guess that doesn't bode well for me.

That does explain why most of my cousins never left the trailer park, though. I was the anomaly who made it to college. Maybe my wiring shorted out.

Re:Uh oh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36003782)

No, you were stolen at birth. You should really review your birth certificate. Probably a forgery or maybe it was just stolen. Ohh wait. You don't have one? I wonder why that might be.

Re:Uh oh (0)

somaTh (1154199) | more than 3 years ago | (#36003858)

You're from Mos Eisley?

Re:Uh oh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36003936)

My family tree is a most wretched hive of scum and villainy. Guess that doesn't bode well for me.

That does explain why most of my cousins never left the trailer park, though. I was the anomaly who made it to college. Maybe my wiring shorted out.

Did you have a privileged childhood of a doublewide compared to your cousins?

Re:Uh oh (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#36003954)

Hybrid vigor. Check your ancestors family trees.

Re:Uh oh (1)

pushing-robot (1037830) | more than 3 years ago | (#36004116)

Sure enough, he had a third grandparent.

Re:Uh oh (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36004036)

Mine were mostly intelligent blue collar workers and a couple mafia underlings - the "bag men" and so on who worked for the "made men" and were able to get out. Peons who had no power but took a lot of risk but it paid a hell of lot more than the drug dealers mentioned in "Freakonomics".

The family never had that much money and it was a time when you could get a decent job without a college education and raise a family. They were also the days of lifetime employment - retire after 30 years at GM and have a very nice retirement and a certificate from GM where you buy a car $500 above the real dealer cost (it was so much fun seeing the lying car salesmen who liked to say "we don't make that much!" turn red!)

I'm not sure if they didn't know about financial aid or if it wasn't available back then. (They're all dead so I can't ask them.)

I think some of the mentality was get a good trade, a job and live comfortably. When you think about it, it sounds much more balanced than "career" people whose life revolves around their job - at the expense of their families, health and well being.

Re:Uh oh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36004092)

Your mom could have been a slut and you got lucky!!

Re:Uh oh (1)

mr1911 (1942298) | more than 3 years ago | (#36004330)

As opposed to if his mom was a slut and everyone else got lucky?

Re:Uh oh (1)

snspdaarf (1314399) | more than 3 years ago | (#36004254)

Or, you are immune to the Brain Spawn.

Re:Uh oh (1)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | more than 3 years ago | (#36004276)

Reminds me of one branch of my family that is some sort of big dark secret. At a wake, my grandpa was talking with one of his sisters about how he really don't know much about his family beyond his parents. Met one set of grandparents a couple of times and nobody else. "I know Uncle Jack but that's about it." "Oh, Jack wasn't really our uncle. We just called him that." It turned out that, other than meeting their father's parents a couple of times, they'd never met any other family ever. His sister said she overheard something about piracy when she was little but dad wouldn't talk about it. Given the time frame of the late 20s, I assumed patches, peg-legs, and parrots but it probably wasn't that exciting. She said, "I think they were trying to distance themselves from some scandal."

So I've got two sides of my family tree going back to Europe, the redneck branch that nobody cared enough to trace, and the turn-of-the century pirate branch.

Re:Uh oh (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 3 years ago | (#36004610)

Actually odds are that it is that one side had a child that was born out of wedlock. It may not be yours but their side and your side never talked to them again.

My father's side I have traced back to two points. The first of my family line to arrive from Scotland, and about 150 years before that when we lost our lands due to be assholes. looking at my family objectively I can very well believe the asshole part.

*(you don't lose your land for being an asshole, but if you are an asshole and insult a king it tends to go badly for you)

Re:Uh oh (1)

Paracelcus (151056) | more than 3 years ago | (#36004532)

Yeah, My maternal grandfathers family came from a polish speaking enclave in what is now Belarus, incredibly isolated swampy area, impenetrable forests. This isolation seemed to result in some psychological issues, they were all mad as hatters, right down to my mom. My maternal grandmothers family came from an even more remote area near lake Baikal in Siberia but did not suffer from these kind of issues probably due to my great-great grandmother being Mongolian, a little outside DNA making all the difference!

Breaking News: (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36003746)

Genes responsible for characteristics of living organism.

clearly (4, Insightful)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 3 years ago | (#36003758)

It is an uncomfortable truth, quite incompatible with any moral basis for meritocracy, that our fate is at worst sealed before we are born, and at best with the support of half a dozen early years of good nutrition and parenting. None of us really deserve our lot: the hardest worker will always be constrained by his mental limitations, while the genius can achieve very much with little effort.

Re:clearly (3, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#36003784)

How is it incompatible with a meritocracy and where would one find such a political structure anyway?

Your merits are yours if you earned them via hard work or good breeding. Still a far better system than we have today.

Re:clearly (1)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 3 years ago | (#36003800)

Your merits are yours if you earned them via hard work or good breeding.

Are you suggesting that you earnt your breeding?

Re:clearly (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#36003818)

What does that have to do with what merits I have?
My family earned it in some manner of speaking, but really that has not a thing to do with it being a merit or not.

Re:clearly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36003856)

did your family earn it with slavery?

Re:clearly (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#36003942)

My family was not in North America when slavery was legal in the USA.

Re:clearly (2)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 3 years ago | (#36003868)

If you possess merits which are shown to be the result of your breeding, can you say you earnt those merits? It's a fairly simple question.

Re:clearly (1, Troll)

ThatMegathronDude (1189203) | more than 3 years ago | (#36003910)

Maybe the individual didn't earn them, but the family earned them by not breeding with morons.

Re:clearly (1)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 3 years ago | (#36003946)

And we're back to the justification for the feudal class system.

Re:clearly (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#36004006)

I never suggested such a thing.
In the Feudal system the ruling class had no merits bred or otherwise making them fit to run the show. Unless hemophilia is a merit.

Re:clearly (2)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 3 years ago | (#36004106)

Their merit was their ability to lead/dominate, and descendants justified their position by the same argument as your own: that not just each individual but the whole family "earnt" its position by good breeding.

Re:clearly (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#36004162)

Then the problem is what was considered a merit, not how they came to be. Considering how many had the various conditions that occur due to inbreeding they did not even have the merit of good breeding. If one was breeding dogs and got those results one would put them down or at least stop breeding that line.

If my parents selected a mate based on mental abilities and thus I have high mental abilities should I have to be drugged so that I cannot exceed the mental abilities of the average?

Re:clearly (1)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 3 years ago | (#36004432)

If my parents selected a mate based on mental abilities and thus I have high mental abilities should I have to be drugged so that I cannot exceed the mental abilities of the average?

The discussion is whether you earnt it.

One follow-on might be to prevent people having what they did not earn. Another might be to stop considering that society can reasonably be based on people getting what they've earnt.

Re:clearly (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#36004490)

No, you tried to make it that for some reason. The discussion was about moral implications in a meritocracy. Meritocracy is a system based on merits not necessarily earned ones.

Another might be to stop considering that society can reasonably be based on people getting what they've earnt.

Anyone who believes that is terribly naive.

Re:clearly (1)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 3 years ago | (#36004792)

Your merits are yours if you earned them via hard work or good breeding.

This is the sentence I was immediately addressing.

The parent discussion on morality of meritocracy relates, I guess, to whether meritocracy is an idealistic approach ("people who achieve more deserve more") or a pragmatic approach ("we'll pay more to attract higher achievers because then more shit gets done"). Modern politics has been dangerously aligned to the idea that meritocracy is a moral ideal, suggesting something about the inherent worth of different human lives rather than merely noting one possible outcome of a market system.

Re:clearly (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#36004878)

Modern politics has been dangerously aligned to the idea that meritocracy is a moral ideal, suggesting something about the inherent worth of different human lives rather than merely noting one possible outcome of a market system.

Only because some fools think we live in a meritocracy, we do not. Much of this mess is the direct result of the laughable naive concepts the protestant work ethic puts forward. These beliefs are promoted because they are good for the ruling class.

Re:clearly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36004558)

That drug is called "entertainment". Keeps you from thinking too hard...

Re:clearly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36004222)

So why did a couple of billion people watch the cousin-fucker marriage, as Bill Maher calls them?

Re:clearly (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#36004250)

Because people are idiots. I did not watch the worlds wealthiest welfare recipients get married. I find it odd anyone cares at all.

Re:clearly (1)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 3 years ago | (#36004390)

National pride; escapism/prince+princess fantasy (do you ever read fiction?); admiration of stability; media attrition. And "welfare" isn't a dirty word in all cultures: some support taxation and redistribution of wealth to upload tradition / art / the poor / industry / etc., and consider voting with the ballot box to upload these principles as legitimate as voting with the private wallet.

It's certainly not necessary to be a royalist to perceive both the principles and the emotions which attract people to a British royal marriage.

Re:clearly (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#36004464)

My fiction does not cost millions, nor is it as boring as a wedding.

Who supports taking from most and giving to the already wealthy?

I have no problem with helping the poor, I have a problem with using money that could help the poor to keep some jerks in castles and caviar until the end of time.

Re:clearly (3, Interesting)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 3 years ago | (#36004608)

My fiction does not cost millions, nor is it as boring as a wedding.

Lots of people like Hollywood movies, and I'm quite certain that many would find your fiction more boring than a wedding.

Who supports taking from most and giving to the already wealthy?

A good deal of royalists, clearly. In return the Royals entertain the country/world in various ways and provide a perceived rock of stability. If you like, think of it as a tradition/fantasy tax - the Queen and her close relations have more than enough money to retire into obscurity, but the country chooses to pay them to play on.

There was also something more interesting in the whole aristocracy via the recently deprecated hereditary peer system: a House which sat partly apolitically, often more keen than the ephemeral Commons to uphold traditional aspects of British freedom. Blair's machine of civil liberty erosion had been in no small measure lubricated by the House of Lords Act 1999, which allowed him to stoke this second house with political cronies and reduce the chance of absurd new legislation being bounced back for review. You may argue that Britain should instead have an ultimate defence in the form of its own written Constitution like the USA, but all written documents are interpreted by men and the traditional Lords had a unique breed(!) of men who did not need to curry political favour.

I have no problem with helping the poor, I have a problem with using money that could help the poor to keep some jerks in castles and caviar until the end of time.

That's perfectly reasonable. But it is important to see where the other side is coming from, no matter how absurd you consider it at first glance.

Re:clearly (1)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | more than 3 years ago | (#36004252)

It is doubtful that a couple of billion people even have access to a TV, so I doubt that very much. Even in the UK only about half the population had any interest at all.

Re:clearly (1)

smelch (1988698) | more than 3 years ago | (#36004028)

But you don't understand! We need to all race to the bottom. Failures should be the same as successes because we haven't done enough to halt our evolution in its tracks in the name of being fair. In an effort to be truly humane, we must strip away everything it means to be human. That way we can all be empty, miserable shells instead of just the genetic failures.

Re:clearly (2)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 3 years ago | (#36004136)

Arguments which suggest man has a collective aim to "evolve" through the lifting up of its supermen are as ugly today as they've been throughout C20.

Re:clearly (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#36004204)

No one made such a claim. You sure love propping up straw-men and knocking them down.

The only argument made was merits attained through non-earned means are still compatible with a meritocracy. All meritocracies that will ever exist will have to deal with that, if any ever exist. The issue is selection of merits not how there were attained.

Re:clearly (1)

smelch (1988698) | more than 3 years ago | (#36004214)

You go too far though. Its a spectrum. Somewhere between "We're all the same, man" and "get in the oven, Jew" is a way to retain the humanity lost at both ends of the spectrum.

Re:clearly (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#36003914)

I never suggest I earned them, only that they are merits anyway.

Merit: any admirable quality or attribute

Re:clearly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36003846)

It basically is the system we have today. You just refuse to recognize that the vast majority of the wealthy work harder than you've ever imagined because you cling to the fiction of the trust-fund baby.

Re:clearly (4, Insightful)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 3 years ago | (#36003924)

I went to a school full of wealthy trust fund babies. I was from one of the poorer families, having "earnt" some of my way via various scholarships (but my family was still certainly richer than average). I thus had no choice but to study and perform better than my schoolmates, who could hapily coast and fall into very comfortable positions in the adult world.

The majority of the wealthy may not be especially lazy, but they work no harder than the average working man.

Re:clearly (0)

smelch (1988698) | more than 3 years ago | (#36004078)

Yes, based on your one particular school. Tell me, what of Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg and pretty much any successful actor? Did Steve Jobs, John Carmack or The Beatles work hard enough for you? Any successful person you know of outside of political spheres probably worked a lot of loooong nights for a looooong time. It sounds to me like you are resentful of the rich kids who stole your date to the school dance with the cars they didn't pay for.

Re:clearly (1)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 3 years ago | (#36004258)

Yes, based on your one particular school.

I've yet to find a contradictory $$$ private school experience documented, either in anecdotal or statistical form.

Tell me, what of Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg and pretty much any successful actor? Did Steve Jobs, John Carmack or The Beatles work hard enough for you? Any successful person you know of outside of political spheres probably worked a lot of loooong nights for a looooong time.

The information I have available suggests that most of the people you list have worked hard, IOW if their stories are to be believed then they worked "a lot of loooong nights for a looooong time". The same applies to the majority of regular hard-working men and women.

And Gates is one of the best examples of someone who got his big break through family contacts.

But tell me, why is it that when people answer the "help people who already have more than enough to help themselves" cry, they always choose the household celebrity names? Billionaire entrepreneurs form a very small proportion of the wealthy.

It sounds to me like you are resentful of the rich kids who stole your date to the school dance with the cars they didn't pay for.

It sounds to me like you've never been to a single sex school ;-).

Re:clearly (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36004342)

Tell me, what of Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg and pretty much any successful actor?

Unethical business practices plus wealth advantages (family had connections which got him computer time in an era where such things were incredibly expensive), unethical business practices (had absolutely no problem with lying and cheating people in order to maximize his profits, which is a beneficial trait to get ahead, but a crappy trait for a human being), were born physically attractive to the general public (or are you implying that successful actors are good actors? More often then not they are recruited from modeling careers and have absolutely no talent).

Did Steve Jobs, John Carmack or The Beatles work hard enough for you?

No (he's essentially the Zuckerberg of his generation. Awesome salesman because he has no problems with lying and cheating. Woz did the all the hard work), yes, and kind of. Carmack definitely worked hard, is incredibly talented, and definitely deserved his success, but he was also lucky in that he got into the right business at the right time (and yes, partly because he was smart and talented enough to recognize the opportunity and go for it). You can't just go repeat the process and get rich, luck is a large part of it, but Carmack is the best example in your list. The Beatles had merit, but it was raw talent, not so much lots of hard work. Especially later in their careers (when they were making their best songs), they spent most of their time stoned. They were just good regardless. Lennon and McCarthy were well-known for being able to write an album over a weekend, then take 1-3 days to do the recording. Frankly, I'm ok with that, results are more important than how much work you had to put into it (I don't care if you worked a year on something that is absolute crap, I'll take the awesome work by the dude who did it in 30 minutes instead). That said, it's a perfect example of how 'hard work' doesn't get you as far as just that with which you were lucky enough to be born with.

Any successful person you know of outside of political spheres probably worked a lot of loooong nights for a looooong time.

Not based on your examples.

It sounds to me like you are resentful of the rich kids who stole your date to the school dance with the cars they didn't pay for.

Yeah, so their trust funds give them an advantage even in passing their genes forward, not just in their careers, huh? How is that an argument for the merits of working hard?

Re:clearly (1)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | more than 3 years ago | (#36004242)

The majority of the wealthy may not be especially lazy, but they work no harder than the average working man.

For many of them, the wealthy do work harder than average. As for their offspring, that is an entirely different situation.

Re:clearly (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#36003970)

So doing blow and hanging out in the Air national guard instead of fighting in Vietnam is hard work?

So do you benefit from said system or are you just one of its many useful idiots?

Re:clearly (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36004240)

So doing blow and hanging out in the Air national guard instead of fighting in Vietnam is hard work?

To be honest he volunteered for Vietnam and the Air Force said no because they would have had to retrain him in a more modern aircraft.

Secondly, flying a single seat high performance jet is an inherently dangerous activity even in peace time training. Individuals who do so deserve respect for doing so.

Re:clearly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36004246)

As hard as smoking crack and hanging out with known terrorists. Why is it so awful to have money and power and take advantage of it?

Re:clearly (3, Insightful)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 3 years ago | (#36004346)

You obviously don't know many wealthy people. Hard work is inversely proportional to pay. The hardest work is in fields under the hot sun. They get paid the least. Next is janitorial work, fast food, etc. They get paid slightly more. Then there's semi-professionals, professionals, managers, supervisors, etc. The higher it goes, the less work is involved (by any definition of the word work that includes more than just being present).

Not that I have a problem with it, especially since I'm not one of the people working the hardest for the least pay, but neither will I pretend that I work harder than they do.

Re:clearly (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36003788)

It is going to become even more uncomfortable when they realize that some genes are more present in certain population groups.

Re:clearly (1)

Ironhandx (1762146) | more than 3 years ago | (#36003834)

They already have for some things. Generally they're conveniently ignoring these things.

Someday when the knowledge and understanding of that knowledge becomes more common its going to become an ever larger elephant in the room scenario.

Re:clearly (1)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 3 years ago | (#36003850)

The discomfort may legitimately arise from society's assuming that each individual reflects his group's average.

Abuse of science is the most common cause of mass murder.

Re:clearly (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#36004122)

The discomfort may legitimately arise from society's assuming that each individual reflects his group's average.

Abuse of science is the most common cause of mass murder.

The folks whom are most motivated to ignore the elephant in the room, are traditionally the folks stuck with the philosophy that individuals are inherently meaningless and unproductive and only groups (led by them, of course) have ever accomplished anything, all the usual collectivist/statist stuff.

Unfortunately that is precisely the thought experiment where group averages would have the highest impact...

Leading to all kinds of cognitive dissonance about both topics. At least by that group.

Re:clearly (1)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | more than 3 years ago | (#36004172)

The folks whom are most motivated to ignore the elephant in the room

Stop tapdancing and spit it out man - what specifically is this elephant you refer to?

Re:clearly (1)

_0xd0ad (1974778) | more than 3 years ago | (#36004368)

That'd be one hell of a light-footed guy to be tap-dancing while he had an elephant in his mouth.

Re:clearly (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36004328)

Religion is the most common cause of mass murder. The only use religion has for science is to create better ways to torture and murder people who disagree.

Religion is an air castle, built from blood bubbles.

Re:clearly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36004384)

>Religion is the most common cause of mass murder.

I think you misspelled 'communism' at the beginning of that sentence.

Re:clearly (1)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 3 years ago | (#36004992)

Possibly. What is murder? If your countrymen do not have enough food to survive, has the government murdered them?

For example, it is often argued that Stalin engineered the famine in the Ukraine in 1932-33. But what of Churchill's contribution to Bengal's starvation a decade later? At what point does the reassignation of previously accessible resources or denial of available resources result in responsibility for murder?

We can look at the argument in general terms of property rights, of course. If you believe in the sanctity of private property, you don't consider it a murder if you lock up a warehouse full of food while paupers starve outside. Nor is it murder if a doctor refuses his time to treat a simple condition; a town does not provide adequate sanitation; a police force does not clean up the streets of gangsters; a social worker assigns the old man to the cheapest, dirtiest retirement home. If you have a conception of just war, then perhaps it's not your fault if your bombing of infrastructure means people end up without clean water: you didn't murder the village which dies of dysentery over the following months.

Everyone agrees that walking up to someone randomly and stabbing them through the heart is murder. Beyond that, it's a question of how your moral/political compass determines the legitimacy of particular forms of resource allocation and the consequence of those allocations. Just as Stalin's idea of legitimacy allowed him to justify what many call murder, so in the West businessmen protected their patents via WIPO and denied antiretrovirals, justifying what others called murder. "Murderer" is as political a word as "terrorist". To be neutral, one can at best analyse cause and effect.

Re:clearly (1)

PeterM from Berkeley (15510) | more than 3 years ago | (#36003894)

Given that you've got what you've got from your genes, I, as a parent, am going to mostly praise my child for trying hard and "working smart" rather than just BEING smart.

After all, you can't get a brain transplant, but you CAN work hard to make the most of what you've got.

--PeterM

Re:clearly (1)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | more than 3 years ago | (#36004072)

the hardest worker will always be constrained by his mental limitations, while the genius can achieve very much with little effort.

As Einstein put it: "Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid."

I find this enitre report on the study to be highly suspect, for example it says "Previous work has shown that people with more efficient brain connections score higher on tests of intelligence", a statement so profoundly free of any connection to actual science that it goes well beyond religious. I've seen plenty of hard workers sail right past highly intelligent people in academia and employment circles.

Re:clearly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36004086)

Hard work will still pay off compared to not working for any given individual. And not just our aptitudes but also our attitudes depend a lot on nature and nurture. Making everyone equal is not the primary goal of all ethical systems.

I think you may be confusing meritocracy with something else. Also keep in mind that the word is used with several different meanings, see e.g. http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2001/jun/29/comment [guardian.co.uk]

Re:clearly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36004100)

People are what they are through nature and nurture. Either way, they can't help it. We shouldn't blame people, just find ways of living with them.

Re:clearly (1)

19thNervousBreakdown (768619) | more than 3 years ago | (#36004152)

Be glad the world isn't fair. If it was, we would deserve all this.

Cheer Up Dude. (1)

assertation (1255714) | more than 3 years ago | (#36004664)

I've met a lot of people in my life. I've found most of them to be about the same in intelligence. I've rarely met someone dramatically dumber than I am and while I have had the pleasure to meet some bonafide geniuses ( in my opinion ) I never felt like there was a huge gulf between us.

I agree, really smart/dumb people rarely come from dumb/smart families.

However, as far maximizing potential goes, from my life experience it seems most people are held back by factors that can be changed:

- parenting styles
- nutrition
- environment
- education
- work ethic
etc.

Re:Cheer Up Dude. (1)

topcoder (1662257) | more than 3 years ago | (#36004954)

I think that genius is hard to detect at first sight, you have to know a person of genius level really well and at least to have some grasp of the amazing things they do, but believe me true geniuses are really very distant from average people or even regular smart people, they are simply in other plane. Also, in my experience these factors although important are not sufficient conditions for development of genius, there is always some innate part.

Not just genes: NERVE FUNCTION! (0, Troll)

Dr.Bob,DC (2076168) | more than 3 years ago | (#36003764)


By now most people know how a chiropractor realigns the spine and smoothes the pathways for nerve function to be optimized.

There were a couple (or 3?) studies I remember reading in a chiropractic journal which demonstrated how people who went in for regular Chiropractic maintenance alignments and adjustments scored better on IQ tests. Keeping your body clean of BigPharma drugs along with regular adjustments == Better health for YOU!

Re:Not just genes: NERVE FUNCTION! (1)

froggymana (1896008) | more than 3 years ago | (#36003948)

Takes a lot of nerve to say that.

Re:Not just genes: NERVE FUNCTION! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36003956)

Surely this is a joke.

Re:Not just genes: NERVE FUNCTION! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36004010)

no, sadly he is serious. see previous posts: http://slashdot.org/~Dr.Bob%2CDC [slashdot.org]

Re:Not just genes: NERVE FUNCTION! (1)

The End Of Days (1243248) | more than 3 years ago | (#36003992)

Do you give happy endings after the adjustments? My current chiropractor was offended by that question.

Re:Not just genes: NERVE FUNCTION! (1)

gomiam (587421) | more than 3 years ago | (#36004076)

Please be so kind to explain how a spine realignment can result in an IQ increase when, as far as I know, the spinal nerves have nothing to do with the tasks carried out in IQ tests.

Chiropractic is still often shrouded in a series of ascientific claims, which makes it hard to know whether it works or when it does. Unfortunately, I'm afraid your asserted relation between "pathway smoothing" at the spine level and neofrontal cortex tasks (which, as far as I know, require no spinal activity) sound very much like one of those ascientific claims.

Re:Not just genes: NERVE FUNCTION! (1)

im3w1l (2009474) | more than 3 years ago | (#36004494)

It is not unreasonable at all. People perform better at IQ tests if they are offered a financial reward for instance.

Queue The Class Action Lawsuits (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36003776)

against companies requiring Proof of Sound Wiring.

Yours In Toledo,
K. Trout

The gout link (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36003880)

At some point there was a genetic glitch that caused humans to have a hard time processing uric acid. The result is gout. There's a side effect though. High uric acid levels have actually been shown to enhance some neurological functions. One famous gout sufferer: Isaac Newton.

Gout is herridtary of course. Some people have genes that offset the glitch better than others, and never get gout.

This uric acid business is just *one* factor. Yes though, we all know intelligence is partly genetic and partly environmental. Take a perfectly normal child and lock them in a closet for a few years, and they are doomed to never reach their full potential. Sadly, we know this from empircal data...

...hang on... (1)

Kc_spot (1677970) | more than 3 years ago | (#36003902)

Would this be the basis on autism and asperger's? because I have asperger's and my dad is a little... YA KNOW

very tempting to use this to jusify discrimination (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36003904)

This is welcomed news for those who feel their family is genetically better than others.
Even if true, I still believe it is better for society to treat everyone as being equal.
The alternatives are not pretty for anyone.

Re:very tempting to use this to jusify discriminat (0)

smelch (1988698) | more than 3 years ago | (#36004190)

Yeah, lets not judge people based on personality, intelligence, looks, or anything else that is genetic. In fact, lets not judge people at all. Job interviews will from now on consist of one question: Do you want the job? And their may only be one answer (since we can't judge the works of people, that is the same as judging the people, and jobs are created by the works of people): Yes. Oh what a great world we live in. This is the problem with the whole equal rights for women and minorities thing. It works if the minorities are minoritorious enough, but the logical conclusion is to treat everybody equally since personality and skills are fundamentally the same as race and gender: bits of DNA arranged at random in some chick's womb.

Clearing up a myth and a misinterpretation (5, Interesting)

Myji Humoz (1535565) | more than 3 years ago | (#36003918)

The only novel contribution the article has to scientific understanding seems to be this gem:

"We found that people differed greatly in terms of how cost-efficient the functioning of their brain networks were, and that over half of these differences could be explained by genes,” said Dr. Fornito.

Please note that the study "compared the brain scans of 38 identical and 26 non-identical twins from the Australian Twin Registry." That is to say, each twin is compared against the other, but not against unrelated people. These individuals had highly similar genetic makeups and likely very similar backgrounds/family environments.

The statement that half of these differences could be explained by genes is EXTREMELY misleading. It implies to the casual reader that half of the brain's efficiency is linked to genes. IT IS NOT THE CASE.

Lets use a real life example.
Couple A goes shopping. The man always buys a suit for $1000. The woman buys a hat for $10 half the time, but nothing at other times.
Couple B goes shopping. The man always buys a suit for $1000. The woman buys a hat for $10 every time.

Average cost of couple A: $1005. Average cost of couple B: $1010

The difference is $5, and all of it is driven by the behavior of the woman in couple A. However, it's blatantly obvious that the women in the couples don't account for anything close to a significant portion of the cost. It's just like how if 90% of the variance in height is explained by genes, it doesn't mean that genes control 90% of your height.

TLDR VERSION: Just because half the difference can be explained by genes doesn't mean that genes account for 50% of the brain efficiency. There is no substitute for raw talent nurtured by a stimulating and engaging environment.

Re:Clearing up a myth and a misinterpretation (2)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#36004042)

The woman buys ... nothing ...

Now you're confusing us with unrealistic examples.

TLDR:

Intelligence = (0.5) (genetics) + (everything else)

It seems the coefficient of 0.5 has been proven, but Myji Humoz claims the numerical value of (everything else) >> (genetics)

Re:Clearing up a myth and a misinterpretation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36004166)

Not '(0.5)(genetics)'

I think it is closer to this : "(.5)(intelligence) is due to genetics".
Except that "intelligence" is not a number, or one thing,
and the "due to" is also unclear to me.

Re:Clearing up a myth and a misinterpretation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36004094)

I'm a little bit queasy about the length of the scanning session. They are using what amounts to a 1 minute scan -- which is setting the lowest freq at 0.18Hz. Lots of the network dynamics are slower than this. I have to wonder how this made it through peer review; I'd a ding-ed the paper.

MOD PARENT UP (1)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | more than 3 years ago | (#36004110)

Bad sensationalist reporting.

Re:Clearing up a myth and a misinterpretation (0)

0xdeadbeef (28836) | more than 3 years ago | (#36004326)

> There is no substitute for raw talent nurtured by a stimulating and engaging environment.

Does not follow.

Re:Clearing up a myth and a misinterpretation (1)

syousef (465911) | more than 3 years ago | (#36004452)

Lets use a real life example.
Couple A goes shopping. The man always buys a suit for $1000. The woman buys a hat for $10 half the time, but nothing at other times.
Couple B goes shopping. The man always buys a suit for $1000. The woman buys a hat for $10 every time.

Average cost of couple A: $1005. Average cost of couple B: $1010

Real life outcome: Both men poisoned by their wives for their money.

Re:Clearing up a myth and a misinterpretation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36004564)

You could have said all that in one sentence:

Causation of VARIANCE of $X is not necessary causation of VALUE of $X.

Also, there is no such thing as "raw talent". Game designers and motivation experts know about that study that proved that it's all just motivation, which is caused by how close you manage to get the difficulty of your tasks to your own skill, and structuring of thoughts,which is our brain's primary function (aka "reasoning").

Re:Clearing up a myth and a misinterpretation (1)

steelfood (895457) | more than 3 years ago | (#36004822)

Emphasis mine:

There is no substitute for raw talent nurtured by a stimulating and engaging environment.

What do you suppose raw talent is? It sure as hell isn't in the "nuture" half of the spectrum.

Re:Clearing up a myth and a misinterpretation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36004916)

When identical twins show much higher correlation than non identical twins it's very strong evidence that genes play a strong part in the formula.

such bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36003978)

Such bullshit. One step from using head clamps to prove the superior race

Noble Blood? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36004022)

> Some of the strongest effects were observed for regions of the prefrontal cortex which play a vital role in planning, strategic thinking, decision-making and memory.

This would suggest that there is actually some small grain of merit in the notion of hereditary leadership. I.E., An excellent leader is likely to have children who are highly *capable* of developing the same level of leadership.

Obviously this doesn't apply if you became a leader by simpering and laughing at the right jokes, but what if the progenitor was rewarded for military leadership and/or pure cunning?

I can see (2)

AlfaMike (1902786) | more than 3 years ago | (#36004144)

this being used as a justification by bigots.

Re:I can see (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36004280)

this being used as a justification by bigots.

What can't?

Re:I can see (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36004290)

Wouldn't it be a shame if scientific truth were kept suppressed because it was incompatible with idealogues' faith-based worldview...

Re:I can see (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36004666)

So many people seem resistant to the idea that we are not created equal. Yes, the genetic contribution may account for only half of a fraction of total intelligence. However, that is not insignificant. If your genetic predisposition makes you 5% more intelligent from the outset than another person, you are likely to fare better given similar environmental circumstances. Granted, hard work or nurturing environments are important. Vastly so. However, it is foolish to assume that the playing field is or should be equal. Some people are simply better equipped mentally for no other reason than the luck of the draw.

It is true that foolish people could use this as fuel for bigotry. For instance, if one race is shown to have a higher prevalence of good genetic conditions than another, some may argue that the genetically lucky race is superior to the other. This would be purest folly. As noted in other comments, hard work is more often to lead to success than raw intelligence. The most successful people have both intelligence and a good work ethic.

What it comes down to is that no genetic yardstick can be used to measure either the worth of an individual or the overall potential of an entire group of people. Because we are human beings, we are capable of resisting and working against stereotypes. We are also capable of overcoming whatever disadvantages we may have if we choose to do so. This does not change the fact that genetics can give one person a leg up over another. If you have to work harder than I do to achieve the same goal, that does not make me better than you. It simply means that I got lucky. And genetics, while not a primary consideration, is undoubtedly still a factor in such things.

On a related note.... (1)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | more than 3 years ago | (#36004198)

Lead author Dr. Alex Fornito from the Neuropsychiatry Centre at the University of Melbourne said the findings have important implications for understanding why some people are better able to perform certain tasks than others and the genetic basis of mental illnesses and some neurological diseases

On a related note, researchers determined that various organ systems in the body have a genetic link as to their functioning. This opens insight to diseases such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease.

I swear.. (1)

Sitxu (223846) | more than 3 years ago | (#36004216)

that ain't my fault your honor, it's because my family wiring..

Deja vu? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36004396)

A little off topic here. Is it just me or did I already see this posted a month ago? Also before any trolls decide to start combing through the topic history via the "brain" tag, I might save you some time and say that it technically hasn't been posted. I swear though...

So intelligence has a genetic component? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36004552)

Now this is news, indeed.

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