It’s official! Kids get their smarts from MUM studies show


Content Editor / March 27 2019

New research suggests that children get their intelligence from their mother and that Dads play little part when it comes to how clever a kid is.

Intelligence genes are carried on the X chromosome which women have two of, while men only have one.

Furthermore, scientists say that the genes for cognitive function inherited from the father are “deactivated”.

Getty images

Getty images

These genes, known as “conditioned genes”, behave differently depending on their origin, according to a report from Psychology Spot.

These genes have a kind of biochemical tag which allows their origin to be traced and even reveals if they are active or not within the descendant cells.

Some of these conditioned genes work only if they come from the mother. If that same gene is inherited from the father, it is deactivated.

And intelligence genes are now thought to be among the conditioned genes that have to come from the mother.

Getty images

Getty images

In laboratory studies on rats, scientists found that paternal genes accumulated in parts of the limbic system, which controls sex, food and aggression.

But they didn’t find any in the cerebral cortex which is where advanced cognitive function takes place.

Another study, which involved interviewing 12,686 young people aged between 14 and 22 years every year since 1994, found that best predictor of intelligence was the IQ of the mother.

In fact, the young people’s IQ varied only an average of 15 points from that of their mothers.

Apart from genetics, the close interaction between mother and child is also an indicator for intelligence, some studies show.

Researchers from the University of Minnesota found that children who have developed a strong attachment with their mums develop a capacity for playing complex symbolic games at the age of two years, are more persistent, and show less frustration while problem solving.

However, experts say that Dads should not feel too discouraged, because they still play a huge role in their children’s development, especially by being “emotionally present”.

Nicola Conville has worked as a journalist and editor for more than 20 years across a wide range of print and online publications. Her areas of expertise are parenting, health and travel. She has two children; Lucy, age eight, and Nathan, age five.