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Everyone thinks their child is a genius, but a recent study from King’s College London found that fathers that have families later in life are more likely to have stereotypically “geeky” sons.
The researchers, who have been monitoring a group of 15,000 twins since their birth, identified three central traits — ability to focus, nonverbal IQ and social aloofness — and charted them via a “Geek Index.”
They made note of how the kids scored on the index when they were 12-years-old, and when the participants had high instances of those characteristics, they were more successful in their academic pursuits, particularly in STEM subjects, than their peers that did not have these traits.
How do you account for the impact of the father’s age on the child’s geeky disposition? Apparently, it could be a whole variety of reasons from sperm mutations to simply passing down their traits to their kids.
The researchers also think that older dads might have more stable jobs or more education, creating an environment that lends itself to supporting a kid’s geeky pursuits.
The researchers aren’t suggesting that later-in-life parenthood is for everyone and noted that this Geek Index was only focused on boys — it seems that the girls in the study did not present these traits in the same way.
“I would not recommend that would-be parents delay their plans to start a family to specifically increase the odds of having a child with geek-like qualities,” University of Sheffield professor Allan Pacey told the BBC. “However, I do find the idea of a ‘geek gene’ quite intriguing, and, given our recent trend to have our children later in life, perhaps we are destined for future society of geniuses that are going to help us solve all the world’s problems.”