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Poverty May Impact Your IQ Depending On Where You Live

Update Date: Dec 17, 2015 01:36 PM EST

Both genes and environment are critical in building your IQ, according to a new study published in the journal Psychological Science.

Interestingly, the environment impacts intelligence. It is varied based on social class in the United States, but not in Western Europe or Australia.

"The hypothesis that the genetic influence on intelligence depends on socioeconomic status was not supported in studies outside of the US," said Elliot Tucker-Drob of the University of Texas at Austin, in a news release. "In the Netherlands, there was even evidence suggestive of the opposite effect."

Scientists conducted a meta-analysis combining information from published and unpublished studies that objectively assessed intelligence based on the family's socioeconomic status during childhood.

There were some participants that varied in their genetic relatedness, such as siblings versus identical twins. It was done to enable researchers to "statistically disentangle genetic and environmental influences".

Finally, the information collected from 24,926 pairs of twins and siblings in the United States, Australia, England, Germany, Sweden and the Netherlands showed that the link between genes, intelligence and socioeconomic status depended on their country.

Other factors included the age of testing, whether the tests were composed of a single ability or many cognitive measures, or did the achievement or knowledge of intelligence influence the results or not.

They found the difference in the studies between the US and the rest of the world. They hope that they can identify some parts of a society that "break the link between social class and the expression of genetic potentials for intellectual development."

"Once such characteristics are identified, they could inform policies directed at narrowing test score gaps and promoting all of the positive consequences of higher IQ, such as health, wealth, and progress in science, art, and technology," he concluded.

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