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Mark Dombeck, Ph.D.Mark Dombeck, Ph.D.
Essays and Blogs Concerning Mental and Emotional Health

Gene for intelligence identified

Mark Dombeck, Ph.D. Updated: May 5th 2006

People may be equal under the law, but in reality, as we all know, some people are more gifted than others. Exactly why this is so is a matter of long standing debate which goes back hundreds and probably thousands of years. "Naturism" taken to an extreme would argue that people gain their gifts due to inborn inherited dispositions (which we today identify as genes). The converse position, "Nurturism", holds that people are born as "blank slates" (that phrase belongs to philosopher John Locke) and differences they develop between one anohter are due mostly to environmental differences they experience (e.g., maternal affection, resource availability, etc.). The modern position holds pretty much to the middle of this debate: Certainly important human qualities are inherited, but how completely those qualities are expressed is very influenced by environmental exposures. Intelligence is thought to be partially a product of genetics, for example, but how a given person's intelligence will evolve and develop is more or less at the mercy of the quality of the environment each person experiences. Importantly, the genetic basis for something like inteligence is only strongly suspected (based on years of study looking at children and parents), it is not definitively established. To my knowledge, no one has ever pointed to an intelligence gene and said, "that little sucker is the one responsible". Until recently, that is. Researchers from various New York and Massachusetts institutions are now reporting that they have identified an actual gene that appears to be associated with intelligence. The gene appears on chromosome 6p and codes for dysbindin-1, a protein complex, deficits of which have previously been associated with schizophrenia. The association between dysbindin-1 and intelligence has been established based on two separate studies, one of schizophrenic and schizoaffective patients, and one of normal healthy folks. The abstract is available online, but you've got to pay if you want to read the actual study (bummer!). This sort of study is really interesting as it helps us fill in the blanks of what we know, but it is perhaps even more valuable in that it opens up all sorts of new questions to ask, such as "what exactly is the genetic relationship between proneness to schizophrenia and variation in intelligence". It can't be a simple relationship, as schizophrenia patients vary in terms of their intelligence very widely, just like the rest of us. I've known some wicked-smart schizophrenics in my day. As per usual, we'll need to stay tuned to research channels for the answers.

Mark Dombeck, Ph.D.

Mark Dombeck, Ph.D. was Director of Mental Help Net from 1999 to 2011. Presently, he is an Oakland Psychologist (Lic#PSY25695) in private practice offering evidence-based acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and addressing a range of life problems. Contact Dr. Dombeck by calling 510-900-5123, send Dr. Dombeck email or visit Dr. Dombeck's practice website for more information.

Reader Comments
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Intelligence - - Dec 30th 2012

hello, i am a 23 year old male. I was diegnosed with schizo affective disorder in 2009. I always had a hard time understanding life, i had parents that was drug dealers and always gone in that light i had spent much time with my grandparents who socialized me half way and i was socialized in another part from my parents. .this would be a long story and that isnt what i wanna provide here.. Ever sense i was diegnosed with this disorder, i felt low, i felt alieanated from everyone i met.. having ex's call me crazy, even family members calling me crazy only because of my presumptions of they intended actions (parinoied). Coming from those times graduating from HS then entering the Army, i noticed a really big change in my social, physical, mental states i have alot of trouble with addapting to changes in my enviorments, i would guess that would be result of my child hood and being taken and moved from here to there often. Sense then i am in college with a 4.0 GPA on a 5 year accidemic scholarship to a private college. I have one child whom i pray dosent have the difficult challanges iv had to face, not being understood through out my life was one of the hardest and lonelyest things iv ever encountered.. eventually i became shy.. quiet and reserved.. taking everything in and seeing things i hadnt noticed before, there are many formulas in the sense of charactists and attrubites that a child can be "taught" through life expireance, i am faced with challanges today from a equations summary of my childhood expireances.. not saying people cant choose what they want but lets face it its proven that children develope personality by earily ages of 5 or 6 i believe. i have so many challanges laying underneeth my understanding that i feel are kinks with out the right tools to fix them i feel will end with being unsucessful, uncomfortable for change needed to excel, my intellengence has not been learned but grown it is something i cant explain, connections and made in the mind through proper understanding.. so whats it called when you know the correct answers to random things but... dont know how you got them.. its like i woke up one day and information was served up as a memory but without the nuro network supporting feed back about where that memory stemed from. I dont know life is all a mistory, people need order people need catorgys.. give the people what they want.

scholarships - Malvina Clah - Aug 9th 2010

For increase of scholarships for schizophrenia disorder diagnosed in the usa.

schizophrenitive disorder - dave - Oct 22nd 2009

hi i'm a 24 year old male with schizophrenitive disorder.  this metal disease is very confusing for me, i'm constantly trying to figure out what is reality and delusion. i believe i feel chi or energy around me, that is emotional, coming from me and other people- or is this just my body playing tricks on me? Also the inflated sense of ego is depressing, i constantly have to compare my self to others to determine how special/gifted i am. i know deep down i'm 'just' above average, however most of the time i Feel iam genius and 'connected' to society from telepathy. these feelings that i am connected to outside sources is the enemy, as well as causing paranoia, i hate it; i think they can feel my chi/sexual desire chi or at worst read my thoughts. another driver is the search for an edge, that is secret information/energy that can be used against such enemies. i can never find this edge and has made me delve into the arts of deception, warfare, power, occult, and secret intelligence strategies. if i decide to leave this behind, a feeling of consistent boredom(& paranoia) sets in and my high driven mind has nothing to dwell on of important interest. the advantage of this disease is that i'm able to contemplate complex concepts like depth of emotion but i comes a too great price; i'm unable to make simple connections frontally, narrow-mindedness/confusion, i lack humbleness, distractions/paranoia, lack the feeling of being grounded. i'm also confused about identity and what i want to do as a career. i would trade my fantasyland for a second if i could feel disconnected from the world. i guess i have to flow with the chaos for now. and yes the medication (seriquel) helps a lot.

if there is any thing like an scientific intelligence advantage among these disadvantages, i would like to know.


to all - friend - Mar 11th 2009
My god im so glad i found this site ive been reading on schizophrenia because a vey close member of my family has been diagnosed i feel so much for you all has well for my loved one god bless i know you all can make it xx

I would like to be involved with your research - Camara Russell - Nov 14th 2008


My name is Camara.  I am from Indianapolis, Indiana and I am a 27 year old college student who was diagnosed with Mania my senior year of highschool.  I was doing alot of marajuana smoking along with drinking and studying alot of ancient teachings.  How drugs and and ancient spiritual wisdom tie in  is I was on a soul search and I was using drugs to attempt to inhance spiritual highs.  Interrestingly when I first started having symptoms of schizophrenia which were audioble noise and visual thoughts in my mind that werent my own.  The hallucinations were never as real as somthing sitting in front of me they were internal pictures and sounds that were like me thinking to my self but they werent me.  They worked like telepathy, which is was I thought it was at first.  But How this whole thing message relates to the information on this site is during the time I was creating the atmosphere for the disease I was depressed and I was obsessed with thinking without thinking.  For some strange reason I had theorized that not thinking about the things I was cognatively thinking about would lead me to a promised land due to my intermingly with and attempts to comprehend all the things I had learned on my soul search.  I believe a mind is a terrible thing to waste and I really did somethings to mess up my mind that were completly irrational and they were to me the embryo of me having schizophrenia.  I have come a long way now and even though I hear strange things and see things in my mind I dont react to them I believe they have spiritual origens.  I dont think science and spirituality are separate things anymore.  To me since the God created the universe every thing is spiritual down to the last molucule.  Who knows maybe this could be another key to finding a cure to this puzzling disease.  

a heightened state of self-awareness - Daniel - Aug 26th 2008

Can can relate to what everyone is saying. I suspect that this "diease" runs in my family. My family is full of highly intellegent people. What this "diease" brings is a heightened state of self-awareness. "I think therefor I am".

What they medication does for me is bring my mind down a level. My mind is so high up in the clouds thinking abtract theories and the such is sometimes I conentrate to much on that. After my medication I suddenly became deeply religious like something was drawing me to chuch and its just the right thing to do. I have near photographic memory

We have tremedous self-awareness about ourselfs and what we are.  My mind is a little mini-supercomputer and I feel that. I do not have hate for anyone or anything. I just love people and I love god. We do not conform to what society wants us to be and "normal" people do not like that. People fear what they do not understand. They say Joan of Arc had the same "diease" we do and shes a saint.

Excactly - Peter M. Hoffmann - Jun 20th 2008
     I was diagnosed in nov of 2001 I new I was sick from the time I was very young.  I am 32 now and using my veterans benifits to coplete may associates in cunlinary arts.  I love going to school and am getting 4.0 All my instructors believe I am an sevant but I want to simplfy my life. I won the Achievment against the Odds Award along with 1500dollars of scholarships.  I am a guest speaker in the following classes(pscyhololgy, Race and Ethnic diversity, abmormal psychology, and the mental health nursing classes.) I speak about my life and how scizophrenia has affected me.  I alwyas get a standing ovation when I complete my speech.  Come and help me teach these young people what is really going on.

Intelligence in schizophrenia - marlo - Apr 21st 2008
I have this thing called schizophrenia...when I let people know I have it they respond with remarks that I must be highly intelligent. Well, I kinda feel strange writing this but I do have a broad expansion in learning and receiving information-ever since diagnosed with this I've come to understand why I've always felt different then others...stranger than others I may add! Strange meaning seeing things differently. I'm an Artist- I paint and draw...write poetry and intruments and songwrite, produce, audio engineer, web design, also study astronomy , computer science, and law. I've  majored in college in music.  I'm 30 years old and a very happy schizophrenic woman of spainard and russain heritage. I run my own company.- Some say I'm a role model for people with schizophrenia. Don't get me wrong...I do live with the side effects of my medication. Prolixin.- It's a dream come true  medicine for me. I have my moments of dizziness , other than that I'm cool. I'm down with the reality of my disease. I know it's all in my brain's function . I pray for all others to find their peace within the confusion they may feel with having this thang we and all have and do suffer from. Peace and Many wishes for all schizophrenics  to find the right medicine for them and it is important to fully clear your mind of all myths of having it. Love!!!

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