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Thread: myopia and intelligence, what is true and what is not?

  1. #1 myopia and intelligence, what is true and what is not? 
    Forum Ph.D. Raziell's Avatar
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    A guy in my class said people with myopia has 8 IQ average higher than other people, as ive just become to develop it myself over the years and found out i need glasses this became sort of a talk. He said i should be GLAD over getting it, go figure :?

    I tried finding info about this on the internet and it seems there still isnt any definate proof to developing myopia and its relation to being smart? Also im confused about the fact that reading books makes you shortsighted IF its true.

    Consider a simpleton, a farmer that dont possess the slightest curiosity. He can read 20 books and not get much smarter. While a person with a hunger for knowledge, that questions everything and has an inborn curiosity could get smarter by reading one simple book. In my experience its not reading books that makes you smarter but your personality and process of thought and how you "eat" the knowledge that surrounds you in this world.

    So what are your opinions on this debate? Does myopia really only develop in the smart and the wise? The whole brain growing and pushing the eyes seem kinda weak to me, i thought the brain stopped growing after birth? The more i read about it the more my head spins.


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  3. #2 Re: myopia and intelligence, what is true and what is not? 
    Veracity Vigilante inow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raziell
    A guy in my class said people with myopia has 8 IQ average higher than other people

    <...>

    So what are your opinions on this debate? Does myopia really only develop in the smart and the wise?
    No. It sounds to me like someone with myopia was making up a fib to make themselves feel better about their condition. I remain open to valid evidence in support of that assertion, but at the moment I find the assertion itself rather silly and unlikely to be true.


    Quote Originally Posted by Raziell
    The whole brain growing and pushing the eyes seem kinda weak to me,
    As well it should. I would suggest you go with this feeling. 8)


    Quote Originally Posted by Raziell
    i thought the brain stopped growing after birth?
    Not really. The brain is very "plastic." It is always changing, no matter how old we are. I would suggest trying to avoid thinking purely in terms of "size" and "growth" when considering matters of the brain, and try instead to think in terms of "organization" and "architecture."

    Neural plasticity is a very cool field. We are always growing new synaptic connections and pruning old ones. Quite literally, the brain you fall asleep with at night is not the same brain you wake up with in the morning. It's really fascinating stuff.

    With that said, though... The "myopic people are smarter" idea doesn't seem to pass the smell test. I wouldn't consider it true until some solid evidence is presented to you that it is. Enjoy.


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    Veracity Vigilante inow's Avatar
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    Wow... So I wanted to check my gut feeling on this, and it turns out there is a correlation. Just remember, correlation does not prove causation. Just because more people carry umbrellas when it rains does not mean that umbrellas cause it to rain.


    http://www.sas.upenn.edu/~ptschoen/p...rtationch5.htm
    It is also known that myopia is associated with higher IQ (see Cohn et al. 1988 for a review). Empirically, it does not appear that this association is caused by a greater degree of "nearwork" (e.g., reading) in higher IQ subjects. Furthermore, behavior genetic studies point to a clear genetic influence on variance in ocular refraction (Cohn et al. 1988). In contrast to the situation for height and IQ, the myopia/IQ association is also found within families. Cohn et al. (1988) showed that higher IQ siblings also tend to have a greater degree of myopia, even though the lower IQ siblings tended to spend more time studying and read more books on average. A pleiotropic relationship, in which genetic influences on IQ also influence the incidence of myopia, would appear to be the most likely explanation in this case.



    http://www.cogsci.ecs.soton.ac.uk/cg.../newpsy?11.104
    6. An alternative genetic theory to explain why myopia is much more common among the highly intelligent exists. I (Miller 1992) have argued that there is a pleitropic genetic effect by which one gene promotes growth of both the brain and the eyeball, with the eyeball growth leading to myopia, or a predisposition to myopia. Although eminently testable, there is no report in the literature of it being tested.

    7. A quick summary of the evidence for this theory may be useful. Cohn, Cohn, & Jensen (1988) showed that not only was myopia more common among highly intelligent children, but that myopia was more common among them than among their less talented siblings. Benbow (1986, 1988) showed that myopia was more common among her sample of extremely mathematically and/or verbally precocious students (top 1 in 10,000) than among the general population, and that it was more common among these students than among their siblings, again suggesting that some genes affect both intelligence and myopia. Karlsson (1978, chap 9 and 10; 1991, pp. 39-45, 137-143) summarized in non-technical language both the evidence for the inheritance of myopia, and for a correlation of myopia and intelligence. He (1978, p. 76; 1986) hypothesized that both myopia and intelligence might be affected by a single gene, which he estimated (from his data on California children) contributes about eight IQ points to intelligence. The only problem is to plausibly explain why one gene might affect head size and IQ.

    8. The proximate cause of myopia is known to be an eyeball that is long relatively to the focal length of the lens (Curtin 1985). Such a physical trait is very plausibly subject to strong genetic influence. It is also known that brain size and IQ are correlated. (I summarized the evidence in my papers and Storfer has summarized it in the target paper). Embryologically, the eye is an outgrowth of the brain. This makes it very plausible that one growth related gene could affect the size of both the eyeball and the brain. While a proportionately larger eye would not be more prone to myopia, the cornea and lens develop from the surface ectoderm of the embryo, whereas the retinal tissues develop from the neural ectoderm (Barber, 1955). Thus, the hypothesized gene for a larger eyeball and brain need not result in a proportionately greater increase in the focal length of the eye. A study of Japanese school children (Otsuka, cited by Baldwin, 1981, p. 520) reported "the result that a person with a better scholastic record has a longer axial length and a smaller refractive power of the lens than a person having a poor scholastic record." The refractive power of the cornea was virtually the same for both groups.The above theory is easily tested. I understand the late Professor Willerman at the University of Texas started a study of the correlation of head size, eye dimensions, and myopia, but I am aware of no publication of his results.

    9. If such a polymorphic gene exists, it can easily explain the IQ myopia correlation, without the very speculative mechanism Storfer proposes. Since the IQ myopia correlation might also be explained by the intelligent doing more reading and studying, there really seems no reason to postulate a new inheritance mechanism. Storfer seems unwilling to regard ethnic group differences in intelligence (in Jews and Asians especially) as being due to genetic causes. However he does seem to recognize that such differences exist and that standard environmental mechanisms are inadequate to explain them. While many are unwilling to use traditional genetics to explain differences between ethnic groups in intelligence, traditional genetics can easily handle the problem. With reproductive isolation for many generations and stronger selection for a trait in a population, that trait can be expected to emerge at higher levels.
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    Moderator Moderator TheBiologista's Avatar
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    Could be as simple as something like- in the modern age intelligent people tend be attracted to jobs that require non-manual labour (very broadly speaking here) thus get to use computers more frequently and spend more time reading small print. Thus tend to become myopic more frequently. Could be totally an utterly wrong, but serves as an example of how a correlation could be the result of causation totally counter the "myopia causes intelligence" argument. The correlation would look pretty much the same, especially since myopia develops over time either way.
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