Have you ever wondered why you think the way you do? Why do learning and information retention limitations exist in certain people and not others? You are not alone. The field of psychology, in particular, has been asking a long line of questions about both the functionality of the brain and how such a miraculous organ operates a sophisticated organic machine like the human body.

Over millions of years, we have evolved into the mammalians we exist as today. This has included but certainly not been limited to adaptations to walking on two legs, language development, complex mental and psychological processes, emotional development and Intelligence, even at the cellular level in our DNA.

In a general sense, intelligence has been defined by one's ability to acquire knowledge, identify problems, and put learned knowledge and skills to use to solve identified problems.

Intelligence from a psychological standpoint is based on many factors

Let us first take a look at our environment today. Our brains are being bombarded with information on a daily basis by more sources than we can even list. Coming from a background of study in both psychology and biology, I understand the mind-body connection fairly well. Our brains, sophisticated as they may be, are simply incapable of taking in so much stimulus and committing them all to memory, making associations, and so on.

One highly influential source, especially due to the fact that future generations are being targeted the most, is social media. Another factor that tends to weigh heavily on us is news media.

There has been much debate as of late due to the content of the news shared with others over various platforms. Most parents tend to keep the news at a distance from their children and for good reason.

Human intelligence is indirectly affected by traumatic events, causing developmental delays

Needless to say, trauma is simply inescapable in life.

At some point, we are faced with harsh reality. Our environment plays a big role in the nature of our intellectual development. One tends to have a more stable mind frame having grown up in a positive environment. Therefore the child would have more opportunities or at least the confidence in one's self to pursue them.

As an adult, I am positive almost anyone you ask about a traumatic event in their lives can recall one or more instances.

One common event tends to be the death of a friend or loved one. Death is one guarantee in life. Everyone has an expiration date, therefore, most people identify with the loss of someone. After losing my father as a teenager, I can say with certainty, this affected my personal well being and outlook on life. This caused me to have problems with my continued education and ultimately changed my goals in life. Although my intellectual development was not halted or severely affected, my emotional development was altered. This resulted in my change of career path altogether. Some factors in life we can take control over like our physical environment and what we expose ourselves to.

Environmental poisoning poses a huge threat to early childhood development stages

You have heard it before in one news article or another for years now. You might have even laughed most of them off as a mass of paranoid parents simply worrying themselves to death. I will admit, I thought so too at first. Then I took a look at environmental news and statistics which seemed to solidify those beliefs as to the correlation between a child's development and those risk factors. A number of studies have been performed which revealed an intellectual development effect as a result of exposure to the following environmental factors:

  • Lead
  • Flouride

Neglect can lead to intellectual developmental flaws

There is no right or wrong way to process trauma.

In children, effects can range from the child's ability to adapt with ease to a complete halt in intellectual development. Children need to be talked to and read to from an early age to learn to speak and interact with others. Parents take this for granted. Adults are generally fully emotionally and socially developed and therefore understand the ways of life.

Consider this, a baby is brand new and has no knowledge of the world. Their brains have not even developed the capacity yet to think beyond basic needs and comforts. As time goes on, children need to have a source of knowledge to keep development active in their brains. This is as simple as having one-way conversations with them, simple interactions, and beginning to read books and sing to them.

As studies indicate, the importance of early childhood interaction and social development is of lifelong importance.

Intellectual development in middle childhood becomes more sophisticated

Children who have suffered from neglect and abuse tend to be more withdrawn and adopt a sense of learned helplessness in life. They have difficulty establishing and maintaining healthy, lasting relationships. The relationship between a child who has suffered in unsuitable environments with intellectual capabilities is not concrete, however. Referring to my previous statement about the correlation between the two, a child who is withdrawn and unfocused, may stop attending school or have to repeat grades. This does not necessarily affect every child in this situation but the odds are certainly greater at a crucial stage of intellectual development in the younger years.

Therefore, at a vital stage, if a child is affected by trauma, this may shift the child toward an unexpected developmental path or halt development in some instances.

Social development is crucial at this stage. Unresolved early development emotional and intellectual issues become more apparent as the child acclimates to school. Children have moved past parallel play and into cooperative play. They have begun to socialize and orient themselves to the ways of the world outside the home. If a child has not been read to or interacted with, their brains are at a disadvantage during school. The child may not have an actual intellectual disorder but they will develop skills more slowly than a child raised in a more nurturing environment.

Intellectual development relies on a child's genetic make-up

Certain disorders like Down's Syndrome present themselves in middle childhood. The disorder manifests with obvious intellectual development delays. The parents may not actually have the disorder themselves, but carry the genetic code and pass it down to their children. This particular disorder is more common in older mothers than with younger women.

Another way genetics can impact the intellectual development of children is through direct inheritance of genes linked to intelligence. Note, however, this is not always the case where genetics are concerned. For example, imagine the determination of genetics to be a series of fishbowls, each filled with slips of paper.

On each slip of paper, a different combination of resulting genetics is written, in a range of categories; from the color of your eyes to the number of hairs on your head. If both of your parents or even one is highly intelligent, the genetic code for higher intelligence is most likely entered into the category of intellectual genetic make-up in more instances than the average person, increasing the odds of direct inheritance.

Social factors you might not expect interfere with intellectual development

School-aged children face a new set of challenges. As it is important to establish social standing and establish relationships at this stage, as children who have failed to thrive in their home lives, will not fare well at school.

Studies show that children who are malnourished, abused, and/or neglected, perform more poorly than those who have been given the opportunity to flourish in a more suitable environment. Children need to exercise, maintain relationships with their friends outside the home, and get adequate nutrition.

One major impact on a school-aged child is the risk of bullying. In today's schools, technology, and social media platforms, bullying has also evolved. In the news over several years, we have seen bullying reach new heights. Children have been bullied over email, Facebook, Twitter, and of course in schools. We have also witnessed a wide range of cases including children bullied by classmates, children bullied by teachers, and children bullied by another child's parents.

Intellectual development effects have been noted as a result, and in some cases, these incidents resulted in suicide.

Intellectual abilities can be directly influenced by self-image

As mentioned above, confidence and a positive view of oneself can cause shifts in a child's perspective, intellectual processes, and development as a whole. In an abused household or otherwise negative upbringing, a young mind will, in most cases, internalize and wonder why this is happening to them. They do not understand why their caregivers neglect or hurt them. Over time, if the situation is unresolved the child resolves to blame themselves for the pain. Into later childhood and adolescence, they most likely will have little confidence and poor self-concept.

A child who has grown to believe the world is full of hatred, violence, and defeat, will take on a passive role in life and simply believe that life is about feeling helpless and defeated. This continues into adulthood if unaddressed. Often, they stray from school activities and do not nurture relationships with others. There is a direct correlation between early home relationships and later relationships in adulthood. Logically speaking, a child's best friends are his parents in early childhood, for they do not know anyone else yet. If these relationships are strained or non-existent, how would a child know what a healthy relationship is? A child is learning and developing intellectually at all times, starting from infancy.