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U of A[lberta] researcher questions whether genius might be a result of hormonal influences
University of Alberta ^ | 11-Mar-2011 | Jamie Hanlon

Posted on 03/11/2011 10:38:44 AM PST by Pharmboy

U of A researcher questions whether genius might be a result of hormonal influences

A longstanding debate as to whether genius is a byproduct of good genes or good environment has an upstart challenger that may take the discussion in an entirely new direction. University of Alberta researcher Marty Mrazik says being bright may be due to an excess level of a natural hormone.

Mrazik, a professor in the Faculty of Education's educational psychology department, and a colleague from Rider University in the U.S., have published a paper in Roeper Review linking giftedness (having an IQ score of 130 or higher) to prenatal exposure of higher levels of testosterone. Mrazik hypothesizes that, in the same way that physical and cognitive deficiencies can be developed in utero, so, too, could similar exposure to this naturally occurring chemical result in giftedness.

"There seems to be some evidence that excessive prenatal exposure to testosterone facilitates increased connections in the brain, especially in the right prefrontal cortex," said Mrazik. "That's why we see some intellectually gifted people with distinct personality characteristics that you don't see in the normal population."

Mrazik's notion came from observations made during clinical assessments of gifted individuals. He and his fellow researcher observed some specific traits among the subjects. This finding stimulated a conversation on the role of early development in setting the foundation for giftedness.

"It gave us some interesting ideas that there could be more to this notion of genius being predetermined from a biological perspective than maybe people gave it credit for," said Mrazik. "It seemed that the bulk of evidence from new technologies (such as Functional MRI scans) tell us that there's a little bit more going on than a genetic versus environmental interaction."

Based on their observations, the researchers made the hypothesis that this hormonal "glitch" in the in-utero neurobiological development means that gifted children are born with an affinity for certain areas such as the arts, math or science. Mrazik cautions that more research is needed to determine what exact processes may cause the development of the gifted brain.

He notes that more is known about what derails the brain's normal development, thus charting what makes gifted people gifted is very much a new frontier. Mrazik hopes that devices such as the Functional MRI scanner will give them a deeper understanding of the role of neurobiology in the development of the gifted brain.

"It's really hard to say what does put the brain in a pathway where it's going to be much more precocious," he said. "The next steps in this research lay in finding out what exact stimuli causes this atypical brain development."


TOPICS: Science
KEYWORDS: genius; godsgravesglyphs; prenatal; testosterone
Hmmm...are masculinized females smarter than the average female?? He seems to be making a lot out of sparse data...
1 posted on 03/11/2011 10:38:48 AM PST by Pharmboy
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To: SunkenCiv; blam; neverdem; thefactor; aculeus

Pinging you FR geniuses...


2 posted on 03/11/2011 10:40:07 AM PST by Pharmboy (What always made the state a hell has been that man tried to make it heaven-Hoelderlin)
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To: Pharmboy

I know when I look at your stereotypical geniuses (Bill Gates, “Big Bang Theory,” “The Social Network,” etc.,), the first thing I think is: Yup, we’re just too damned manly.


3 posted on 03/11/2011 10:50:55 AM PST by dangus
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To: Pharmboy
Too much testosterone can damage a male infants brain in the uterus. They literally overdose on it. If the level is high, but not so much it creates serious damage, I can see where the brain would compensate by growing extra connections into the right side of the brain to make up for the loss.

Infants in the uterus are remarkable things. Surgery done in the uterus doesn't leave a scar. It just leaves a little red mark the body because those little things heal so fast and so perfectly.

If this study is correct, the genius would show up more on the male side rather than the female side. It would take a lot more testosterone to damage the female brain. They have very little of their own to start with.

4 posted on 03/11/2011 10:56:50 AM PST by concerned about politics ("Get thee behind me, Liberal")
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To: Pharmboy

I disagree with their theory.

While hormones are part of the process, they are not the ultimate director of such processes.

The terms ‘genius’ and ‘very bright’ are not exactly measurable quantities, and not necessarily the same thing.

It is my belief, based on looking around me, that those who are tagged as ‘genius’, usually are deficient in other areas (mentally).

They either have a physical reason to focus (Steven Hawking) all their mental abilities into one channel, or they achieve focus in one area, by not using it in any other area (absent-minded professor, weirdo geek, etc)

Then there are those who are autistic. Very bright, highly non-functional in society. The cause is a toss up, but the methodology is the same. The mind concentrates it’s power in a limited area permanently, by abandoning others.

There are plenty of highly intelligent (say...based on MENSA scores) ‘normal’ people out there, who COULD be ‘geniuses’ if they focused all their attention to one thing, at the expense of the others. But, they don’t.

To conclude, Hormones may be an ingredient of the ‘cause’, but it is only one among many.


5 posted on 03/11/2011 11:00:49 AM PST by UCANSEE2 (Lame and ill-informed post.)
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To: Pharmboy
Roeper Review linking giftedness (having an IQ score of 130 or higher)

This demonstrates to me that these people don't have a clue.

Score numbers mean nothing.

Standard deviation and percentile are the metrics.

This seems like an opportunity to burn research money and publish only.


6 posted on 03/11/2011 11:18:10 AM PST by Uri’el-2012 (Psalm 119:174 I long for Your salvation, YHvH, Your law is my delight.)
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To: Pharmboy

I can answer this in the other direction. Sometimes when observing the effects of female hormones I get a little stupid.


7 posted on 03/11/2011 11:23:35 AM PST by jimfree (In 2012 Sarah Palin will continue to have more relevant quality executive experience than B. Obama.)
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To: Pharmboy

Little known is that Einstein’s mom was the bearded lady in a circus.


8 posted on 03/11/2011 11:40:20 AM PST by decimon
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To: UCANSEE2

I agree with your observations.


9 posted on 03/11/2011 11:54:24 AM PST by Blind Eye Jones
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To: dangus

Great point...seriously.


10 posted on 03/11/2011 2:33:45 PM PST by Pharmboy (What always made the state a hell has been that man tried to make it heaven-Hoelderlin)
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To: jimfree

HAHAHA...you and me both, friend...


11 posted on 03/11/2011 2:36:20 PM PST by Pharmboy (What always made the state a hell has been that man tried to make it heaven-Hoelderlin)
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To: decimon

Nice one...for this guy to try and ascribe something as complex and obviously multigenic as human intelligence to one factor is just plain...silly.


12 posted on 03/11/2011 2:38:37 PM PST by Pharmboy (What always made the state a hell has been that man tried to make it heaven-Hoelderlin)
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To: UCANSEE2

Indeed...but the power to concentrate and focus is undoubtedly (largely) genetic.


13 posted on 03/11/2011 2:40:48 PM PST by Pharmboy (What always made the state a hell has been that man tried to make it heaven-Hoelderlin)
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To: Pharmboy

14 posted on 03/11/2011 3:26:43 PM PST by decimon
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To: Pharmboy; martin_fierro; StayAt HomeMother; Ernest_at_the_Beach; 1010RD; 21twelve; 24Karet; ...

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In before the "how do you make a hormone" jokes.

Thanks Pharmboy.

To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list.
 

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15 posted on 03/11/2011 4:13:40 PM PST by SunkenCiv (The 2nd Amendment follows right behind the 1st because some people are hard of hearing.)
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To: SunkenCiv

I dunno...kick her in the shins?


16 posted on 03/11/2011 4:32:57 PM PST by Pharmboy (What always made the state a hell has been that man tried to make it heaven-Hoelderlin)
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To: Pharmboy

To test how much exposure you had to testosterone in utero you can look at the length of your fingers (true for men, not sure for women). If the ring finger is longer than the index finger then you got a lot of testosterone. If the index finger is longer you were lacking. Strange but true.


17 posted on 03/11/2011 4:36:13 PM PST by Straight Vermonter (Posting from deep behind the Maple Curtain)
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To: Pharmboy; SunkenCiv
"I dunno...kick her in the shins? "

That would create 'her moans', not hormones eh?

18 posted on 03/11/2011 7:14:53 PM PST by blam
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To: Straight Vermonter
Thanks for the reminder...I do now remember when that study came out a few years ago, but had forgotten. Here's something that ties everything together.

Thanks again...

19 posted on 03/11/2011 8:13:46 PM PST by Pharmboy (What always made the state a hell has been that man tried to make it heaven-Hoelderlin)
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To: Pharmboy

That really does tie it together. My son (who has a long ring finger) got a perfect score on the English portion of his SAT and >700 on the math.


20 posted on 03/11/2011 8:37:45 PM PST by Straight Vermonter (Posting from deep behind the Maple Curtain)
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To: blam; SunkenCiv

I thought that perfect geniuses (genii?) were fortunate souls who were born without the glitches that the rest of us have in our hardwiring.... You know the type: intellectually and athletically (sp?) superior.


21 posted on 03/11/2011 8:44:37 PM PST by Silentgypsy
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To: Pharmboy

I believe there is a link between extreme nearsightedness in some people and genius. The gene is dominant. So in a family with four children, when one parent has the gene in full force and is both very nearsighted and a genius, there will be, statistically, two very nearsighted geniuses, one somewhat nearsighted half genius, and one nongenius who is not nearsighted at all. I happen to know a family with exactly that pattern. When you think of it in evolutionary terms, it makes sense, as the intelligence compensates for the poor eyesight. These things are always more complex than this simple explanation, I should add.


22 posted on 03/11/2011 9:37:06 PM PST by firebrand
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To: Pharmboy

I actually think it’s something children do well, and adults have a harder time at.

If it is genetic, then we are headed for IDIOCRACY faster than we know.


23 posted on 03/11/2011 10:41:57 PM PST by UCANSEE2 (Lame and ill-informed post.)
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To: Silentgypsy

:’)


24 posted on 03/12/2011 6:21:09 AM PST by SunkenCiv (The 2nd Amendment follows right behind the 1st because some people are hard of hearing.)
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