It has long been believed the way children are raised directly affects their intelligence in adulthood. Past studies have suggested everything from playing classical music to reading bedtime stories or eating family dinners together have a direct correlation with children’s IQ. A recent Florida State University (FSU) study put that idea to the test, examining adopted children for a potential link between IQ and parental style. Focusing on children with non-biologically related parents in order to rule out the chance of IQ being genetically transmitted, the researchers analyzed the behaviors of middle school and high school students. Years later, the same group was tested again between the ages of 18 to 26, using verbal intelligence as an indicator for measuring IQ.
Published in the journal “Intelligence”, the FSU study examined data among young adults from all over the nation as well as from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. The authors looked at parenting behaviors and the young adults’ scores on the Picture Vocabulary Test (PVT); surprisingly, they found no correlation between parental socialization and PVT score.
“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,” said Kevin Beaver, lead author of the study.
Despite social interactions playing an important role in the development of social skills and habits that could potentially lead to higher IQ (such as reading), the authors found no detectable influences of them on the young adults later in life. They suggest that past studies’ associations of various things with IQ have been due in reality to the participants’ genetics, making whatever the parents were doing seem like it had an effect. However, the researchers were quick to caution that neglecting or traumatizing children can potentially lead to developmental difficulties that could affect IQ.
Potentially helpful parental socialization
While keeping in mind that intellect is believed to be mostly genetic, there are measures parents can take to help their child more likely become an intelligent adult.
The most common activity found to lead to higher IQ is reading. Reading to children while they are infants has been shown by some studies to have a positive effect, while reading in general has been believed to encourage the development of neural connections and higher verbal intelligence. Conversation may also be beneficial in developing children’s verbal reasoning skills, promoting cognitive growth in the same manner as reading.
Some studies have even found video games to have a positive effect on cognitive development, enhancing skills such as spatial navigation, reasoning, memory and perception.Video games, especially “first person players”, have been shown to increase the mind’s ability to think in three dimensions as effectively as academic courses are designed to do. Although console-based video games have been shown to increase creativity in young adults, computer and cellphone games have not. Possible reasons for this include the smaller screen-based games to be less engaging and therefore, less effective in promoting cognitive development.
Video games have also been shown to be very effective learning tools due to their high levels of engagement. A 2008 international study involving over 30 medical centers found a significantly greater adherence to treatment and cancer-related knowledge among children who played “Re-Mission,” an edutainment style video game.
We understand how critical of a time adolescence is for the mind’s development. At our Utah-based boarding school for young men, White River Academy, we offer a host of cognitive tests and exercises in our treatment of the damage caused by substance abuse. In addition to our hallmark of dual diagnosis treatment for co-occurring mental and behavioral health issues, we offer individual, group and intensive family therapy models supported by therapeutic activities such as yoga and meditation, rock climbing and river rafting. If you would like more information feel free to browse the rest of our site or contact us today.