Sibling Intelligence

How can people who are spawned from the same parents have such radically different levels of intelligence (perceived, anyway, since it’s not like I’m handing out IQ tests)?

Example - my boyfriend is very intelligent, a computer guru, philosophical debate-meister, and all around fun guy. His younger sister and brother, however, could share a box of rocks between them. They all went to the same school in a small district and even had most of the same teachers… and yet the male sibling can barely write a complete thought on paper.

I understand talents being distributed in different areas, but is this sort of wide intelligence distribution the norm? We joke that the boyfriend sucked out all the smarts the womb had to offer, leaving none for his siblings. :slight_smile:


Considering how many combinations of genes that can come from just two people, I can see how radically different looking/acting/thinking people can be siblings.

I still put a good deal of intelligence on nutured input. My sister certainly helped me to excel academically. Maybe in your boyfriend’s case, his siblings resented his smarts and subconsciencely (sp?) did things to be not like him.

One acquaintance of mine was a pretty dim bulb, as was his wife. When I saw his kids pictures (homely little waifs), all I could think was, “I hope Darwin wasn’t completely right, for their sakes.”

An article in Newsweek might explain this–gestational conditions might have a greater impact on development than genetics.
I got the issue yesterday in the mail.
It didn’t say much (if anything) about intelligence levels but had a lot about heart disease, obesity, and breast cancer. Stands to reason that if gestational conditions can affect these things then intelligence might be affected as well.

Oh Great! Even MORE pressure for expectant mothers!

What is intelligence anyway? Can you actually define it?

Now, I’m considered fairly smart by most people who know me, and I happen to be fairly successful as well. On the other hand my siblings aren’t as successful, yet I think some of them are actually more intellectually sophisticated than me. Not surprisingly, though, when people compare us, I’m usually the one who comes out ahead in the intelligence poll. As a side note we were all considered ‘gifted’ in school, so we were all at one time on the same IQ level, for what that’s worth.

The reason for this, I think, tend to think, is that many people equate smarts more with education and success than raw genius. It’s been my experience that people with considerable amounts of discipline and motivation achieve more ‘socially’ than those without, regardless of intellect. Because of this these people surpass the norm in education. Further, I personally know that most people I know who where in the ‘gifted’ program, people considered to have plenty of raw genius, have failed miserably. There are plenty of pit-falls one can fall into throughout life to inhibit intellectual growth. And from another perspective, some people learn to use their gray matter in different ways.

I have this uncle, who is a bona-fide genius. His IQ, on paper, is through the roof. He gets the occasional razzing, though, because he didn’t use it to become a rocket scientist. He’s been working at Meijer’s for almost 25 years. He’s also been married to the same woman for just about that long, and they’re as much in love now as they were 25 years ago. His two children are extremely bright & beautiful, and everything he has, he owns. He’s also got a successful photography business, that he runs out of his home. He is happy, and satisfied with his life.

That, in my opinion, is real genius. I want to be just like him when I grow up.

Except, I hope, for the part about working at Meijer.

Are we talking about smarts, or sense? I see a lot of people who – to quote my mother – don’t have the brains God gave a goose. However, give them an IQ test and they’ll score right through the roof. (I especially remember one girl I dated in high school – straight A student, couldn’t get a joke to save her life.

OTOH their “brighter” sibling may not have as much sheer brain power, but is more alert, better with people, etc. They probably got better grades in school because they were more alert in class and are considered smarter as adults because they’re better with people.