Correction Issued 7/2/2019: Recently, we published an article that claimed children inherit their intelligence from the mothers (not their father). However, after further review and a detailed article from Lead Stories, we want to provide a more accurate characterization.
Overall, the truth of the matter is that intelligence is complicated. It’s not as simple as any single parent passing down a single measure of intelligence to their offspring. The reality is that intelligence is a confluence of various traits passed down from both parents genetically, and the environment in which a child is raised adds a whole new host of factors that influence child development.
An article from Forbes sheds additional light on the subject:
“Intelligence is complicated. While maybe half of our intelligence as we currently define and measure it is inherited, that proportion is in turn fractured into many many genetic variants scattered across our genomes.
These variants operate together in various ways to form what we view as intelligence.
And each of those fragments of heredity that contributes is itself subject to a host of environmental factors, both in its immediate molecular world and inputs to the whole organism, that will influence function.
And that influence continues after birth as an ongoing mutual interplay of gene variants and environment. It’s layer upon layer upon layer of interacting pieces.”
So as you can see, the truth often not as simple as what can be communicated in a headline. We apologize for any inaccurate information previously published and will strive to avoid this in the future.
For a great summary of how this story spread on social media, go check out Lead Stories’ full text HERE.
Original Text Published 4/6/2019: You often hear parents commenting on which parent their child resembles most, but when it comes to brains… sorry dads, that’s all thanks to mum.
According to research, the cleverness of a child is determined by the mother’s genes – the X chromosome is responsible for intelligence and women carry two of these. Men only carry one, alongside a Y chromosome.
However, when they finally got the process right, they were able to produce mice with more maternal or paternal genes.
Interestingly, those mice that extra doses of maternal genes actually developed a bigger brain and head.
Conversely, the mice that were dosed with extra paternal genes developed bigger bodies but smaller heads.
Of course, this was 35 years ago, so in 2017 researchers at a government agency in Scotland followed a group of 12,686 people aged 14 to 22.
Every year the researchers would interview the study group and take note of intellectual development – while taking into consideration ways in which they differ, such as the education they received.
They found that the mum’s IQ was the best way to predict the youngster’s intelligence and came up with the same conclusion as the 1984 study.
So there you go – pretty interesting, eh?
Of course, there’s also the age-old debate of nature over nurture – and a study from the University of Minnesota said a child’s intellectual development is also affected by nurturing and nourishment.
The research found that children who develop a strong bond and attachment with their mothers tend to develop the ability to play complex symbolic games, and portray less frustration while going through points of difficult problem solving.
So you may have heard the phrase ‘mum is always right’ and weighed it up against all the times your own mother’s been wrong. Still, looks like there’s something in it.