Left Brain, Right Brain

Twin studies show genetic influence on intelligence and intellect

May 26, 2017

When most people think of twins, they usually think they look alike, dress alike, and act alike but the Lilley twins could not be more different from each other.

Juniors Kyle and Colin Lilley are fraternal twins, meaning that two eggs were released at ovulation and were fertilized separately.

Kyle is on the varsity basketball team and a star track runner, while his “younger” brother Colin, born 19 minutes later, is on the underwater robotics team and participates in the woodworking program.

“It feels pretty normal to be a twin,” Colin said. “If we looked the exact same, I feel like it would be different, but since we don’t look as much alike, it feels normal. It’s almost like we’re just siblings and not actually twins.”

A study run by D. Paul Thompson, Professor of Human Sciences at UC Berkeley, studied 10 sets of fraternal and identical twins to determine if their intelligence quotient, also known as IQ, was inherited or merely hereditary. Through the use of MRI technology, the test determined that IQ is in fact inherited.

This test also piloted to see if twins’ intellectual behaviors were more similar or different and found that grey matter in the brain allows for the twins to be intellectually different from each other.

According to Independent, a news organization out of the UK, grey matter is found in all humans brains, not just twins, and actually allows the brain to be as unique as one’s face. The grey matter of the brain allows for individuals to have memories, creative thoughts and a personality that only oneself has obtained.

“We’re a lot different from each other,” Kyle Lilley said. “My brother Colin is a lot more artsy and creative, and I’m more athletic and into sports.”

Intelligence (IQ) and intellect are two different things.

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, the word “intelligent” means: showing intelligence, or the ability to understand and learn well. “Intellect” is defined as: relating to the ability to think and understand ideas at high levels, or involving ideas.

Intelligence walks hand-in-hand with intellect.

“Studies show that identical twins tend to be very similar as far as intelligence scoring goes, said psychology teacher, Jennifer Leuneberg. “This is a strong argument in the nature versus nurture debate. Fraternal twins do not have as strong a correlation, but it is a stronger correlation than ordinary siblings.”

One similarity that both boys share is their passion for running cross country.
“Colin and Kyle experienced cross country second hand from their older brother, and now they are part of the family. This is a natural fit for siblings because of our team dynamic. They both can maintain their individuality while still contributing to our team goal,” cross country coach Steve Allison said.

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