Are You Intelligent? You Can Thank Your Mom for That

Kelsey Clark

In addition to bravely enduring the pain of childbirth in our names, it seems that our mothers also play a heavy-handed role in determining how smart we are. According to a new report in Psychology Spot, primarily mothers are responsible for transmitting intelligence genes, which go straight to the cerebral cortex. The father’s genes, meanwhile, play a role in the limbic system.

“We know that intelligence has an hereditary component, but until a few years ago we thought that much of it depended on the father as well as on the mother,” explains Psychology Spot’s Jennifer Delgado. “However, several studies revealed that children are more likely to inherit intelligence from the mother, because intelligence genes are located on chromosome X.”

Delgado references Robert Lehrke, a psychologist, whose extensive studies on genetics and intelligence substantiate the idea that most of children’s intelligence depends on the X chromosome (women have two). That being said, it’s also worth bearing in mind that just 40% to 60% of intelligence is hereditary, so environment, upbringing, and parenting styles still play a strong role in determining a child’s intellectual development.

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