Fox News, October 4, 2014
Can parents make their kids smarter? New research published in the journal Intelligence suggests they can’t influence intelligence–at least beyond their genetic contribution.
To answer the oft-asked question, professors at Florida State University, the University of Nebraska, West Illinois University, King Abdulaziz in Saudi Arabia, and Erasmus University in the Netherlands used an adoption-based research design.
The study authors drew participants from a representative sample of between 5,500-7,000 non-adopted youth and a sample of between 250-300 adopted children from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health.
Researchers found that parental socialization had no detectable influence on children’s intelligence later in life.
“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, a criminology professor at FSU, said in a press release.
Some studies suggest that parents who interact with their kids over family dinners or by reading them bedtimes stories can boost their children’s IQ, while other research suggests that children’s IQs are only a product of their genetics.
Analyzing children who shared no DNA with their adoptive parents eliminated the possibility that parental socialization influenced a child’s intelligence.
“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,” Beaver said.