Sorry Dad, Science Says Kids Get Their Intelligence from Mom

Image Source: Thinkstock
Image Source: Thinkstock

Hey, moms — it looks like science has officially given us the okay to say “mother knows best,” with the release of a new study that determined what we’ve kinda suspected all along: Kids get their intelligence from their mama.

The study, which was published on Psychology Spot earlier this month, determined that a child’s intelligence is passed on from his or her mother, thanks to a little gene known as chromosome X, which packs a powerful punch of intellect. Since females carry two X chromosomes, it’s twice as likely that children will inherit this characteristic from their mother. And if that same gene is inherited from the dad, it switches off.

These smart AF genes accumulate in the cerebral cortex where cognitive functions like intelligence, thought, language, and planning, are developed.

How will these new findings affect the way people think about women’s intellect? Hopefully, it’ll open the door to a new way of thinking — and shatter all those archaic sexist tropes about men being smarter than women.

As a mom to two spirited (and often too-smart-for-their-own-good) little girls, it’s not uncommon to be told that my daughters have my facial features, hair color, or build. And if one of them is crying, talking back, or asserting her opinion – those characteristics are pinned on me. I’m responsible for their innate proclivity to burst into tears when overcome with emotion or push back when they do not get their way. All those emotion-fueled responses are all because of me.

But what about my 3-year-old’s ability to think up smart and quirky responses on the fly or her capability to learn new, sometimes complex, vocabulary words, only having heard them a few times? When my 1-year-old strings several words together to make a cohesive sentence or spends several minutes fitting LEGO bricks together? Where did those talents come from?

If we’re being honest, most people would likely assume their father. You know, because men have long been thought to be “superior” in intellect and “experts” at problem-solving and blablabla

And yet, this isn’t the only study that’s credited a child’s intelligence to their mom. A 1994 study led by the Medical Research Council Social and Public Health Sciences Unit in Glasgow, Scotland also found that the best predictor of intelligence was in fact the IQ of the mother. The ratios of young people’s intelligence varied on an average of 15 points from their moms, according to the study.

Perhaps these new findings will finally put an end to all those inane “you get your looks from your mom” comments, and we’ll finally start hearing things like “you’re so smart; just like your mom.” Or better yet, maybe the wide range of emotions our kids exhibit in a given day won’t be blamed solely on us females.

Dads should get some credit for this, too. Thanks to dads, paternal genes gather in areas of the “emotional brain” known as the limbic system, which is responsible for ensuring our survival, and is involved in the not-so-surprising functions of sex, food, and aggression.

Both parties are responsible for helping to create those incredible children — emotional outbursts and all.

Still, while moms are responsible for passing on important intelligence characteristics to our children, it’s all about the partnership and the way in which both the cognitive and limbic systems influence one another that drive decision making.

But that doesn’t mean we can’t pull the “mom knows best” card every now and then, amiright?

After all, it is our genes that help make those remarkably adorable (and oftentimes infuriating) offspring of ours the smarties they are today.

Science doesn’t lie.

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