Friday, October 31st, 2014
It’s in the genes, according to a new study published in the journal Intelligence.
Professors from several universities including Florida State University and the University of Nebraska sought out to answer a common nature-versus-nurture question: “Can parents make their kids smarter?”
They found that when it comes to a child’s intelligence in adulthood, genetics—not parental socialization—is key.
Florida State 24/7 reports:
…examined a nationally representative sample of youth alongside a sample of adopted children from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health) and found evidence to support the argument that IQ is not the result of parental socialization.
The study analyzed parenting behaviors and whether they had an effect on verbal intelligence as measured by the Picture Vocabulary Test (PVT). The IQ tests were administered to middle and high school students, and again when they were between the ages of 18 and 26.
“Previous research that has detected parenting-related behaviors affect intelligence is perhaps incorrect because it hasn’t taken into account genetic transmission,” study author Kevin Beaver told Florida State 24/7. “In previous research, it looks as though parenting is having an effect on child intelligence, but in reality the parents who are more intelligent are doing these things and it is masking the genetic transformation of intelligence to their children.”
But don’t stop the bedtime stories and dinner-table discussions just yet. While this study says IQ may not be affected by these activities, there’s certainly another benefit to them: invaluable parent-child bonding.
For more information on reading with your child, check out our age-by-age guide to reading to babies and 7 ways to encourage a love of reading here.
Photo of mom reading with kids courtesy of Shutterstock.
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Tuesday, August 19th, 2014
If you’ve ever walked into a room in your home only to discover a crayon-created “masterpiece” on the wall, perhaps that portrait your preschooler left behind is really a blessing in disguise.
The way 4-year-olds draw pictures can be an indicator of their intelligence at 14, according to a recent study out of the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College London. Researchers have found moderate associations linking the amount of detail 4-year-olds included in pictures they were asked to draw of another child to higher scores on verbal intelligence tests at age 14.
They determined this by accounting for the amount of detail that was included in the figure—the more comprehensive their picture (including facial features, hair, two legs, two arms etc.), the higher their intelligence score was later in life. The study is based off of an assessment developed in the 1920s called the “Draw-a-Child” test that was used to examine a child’s intelligence level at his current age.
But if your little one isn’t a budding Matisse, there’s no reason to panic. “The correlation is moderate, so our findings are interesting, but it does not mean that parents should worry if their child draws badly,” said Dr. Rosalind Arden, the study’s lead author. “Drawing ability does not determine intelligence, there are countless factors, both genetic and environmental, which affect intelligence in later life.”
You can learn how to decode your child’s drawings, or try out some other simple crafts with your kids. And if you really can’t keep them (and their art supplies) off your walls, consider this cool wallpaper that’s actually meant to be colored on!
Photo of boy coloring courtesy of Shutterstock.
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