Does Children's Intelligence come from Their Mothers?
The old saying goes, “Like father, like son.” But when it comes to our child’s intelligence, you should say “Like mother, like child.” Science planted a seed of controversy when it demonstrated that children get their intelligence from their mothers.
We’re sorry to any fathers who are readers of You Are Mom. But even if your child is a carbon copy of your facial features, mom is usually to thank exclusively for your child’s IQ. That’s right! One more reason to appreciate those mothers who gave us the miracle of life!
Researchers have proven that women pass on the genes related to intelligence. These genes are transmitted through so-called “conditioned genes.” These genes have a biochemical tag that allows scientists to trace their origin. If they come from the mother, they work. If they come from the father, they are silent.
Your children’s intelligence is a mother’s legacy
We have always known that intelligence has a clear hereditary component. However, various recent studies have proven that children inherit their intelligence from their mothers. The responsible genes are located in the X chromosome that come from the mother.
One of these studies was carried out by the University of Cambridge. The study showed that maternal genes contribute to the development of thought centers in the brain. Furthermore, the researchers claim that girls have more chances of inheriting their mother’s intelligence. The reason for this is that girls inherit two X chromosomes, while boys only inherit one.
At the same time, cells in paternal genes accumulate in the regions of the brain responsible for emotion. These areas form what is called the limbic system. The limbic system is responsible for guaranteeing survival, appealing to functions such as sex, eating and aggression.
However, no paternal cells are found in the cerebral cortex. This is the area of the brain where the most advanced cognitive functions develop. These include intelligence, thought, language and planning. In this area of the brain, there are only feminine cells.
New studies on infant intelligence
Researchers from the University of Ulm in Germany studied the genes affected by brain damage. Their research showed that genes related to cognitive abilities also contained the X chromosome.
However, the most interesting discovery regarding child intelligence was made in the United States. Researchers carried out interviews of approximately 12 thousand youth between the ages of 14 and 22. They took note of their skin color, level of education, and socio-economic status.
This detailed investigation led them to the conclusion that the best predictor of children’s intelligence is their mother’s Intelligence Quotient. To be more precise, they discovered a connection between the youths’ IQ and their mothers’ IQ. The researchers found these two numbers varied on an average of only 15 points between mother and child.
Other explanations besides genetics
Another group of studies reveals that a mother plays an important role in the development of her child’s intellect. How? Through prudent emotional and physical contact. Some investigations even make a connection between attachment bonding and intelligence.
One of these studies was carried out at the University of Minnesota. The researchers found that children raised with a healthy bond develop more complex symbolic play at a younger age. They also found that these children are more perseverant and show less frustration when it comes to problem-solving.
A child’s healthy bond with his mother is also influential when it come to exploring. Healthily bonded children are able to solve problems with confidence, without giving up. Furthermore, these mothers tend to offer their children different levels of assistance when facing obstacles. This helps to stimulate their potential.
Yet another study from the University of Washington proved the importance of an affectionate relationship in brain development. The study showed that maternal love and bonding are fundamental for the development of certain parts of the brain.
The study shows the effect a mother’s role can have on her child’s hippocampus. When a mother provides emotional support and satisfies her child’s intellectual needs, the baby’s hippocampus is larger. As for the children of emotionally distant mothers, the size of the hippocampus is 10% smaller, on average.
Intelligence needs to be cultivated
It’s worth saying that children’s intelligence isn’t only something you inherit. It’s something that you must cultivate. This requires a certain degree of stimulation. And here comes yet another merit award for mothers. They tend to be the ones responsible for most of the stimulation and development of their little ones’ intelligence.
A child’s nourishment plays a gigantic role in his or her intelligence. In fact, from the moment a child nurses for the first time, his intelligence is nourished. A close, unique bond forms between mother and baby. There are even theories that claim that children who nurse for longer are more intelligent and successful.
A mother can even influence the development of her child’s intelligence while her baby is still in the womb. She can stimulate her baby through different types of music and by eating foods that benefit the baby’s brain development.
Now that you know this revealing information, you know you have your mother to thank for making you so intelligent. And you also know how your child came to be so clever! They got it from you!