When it comes to wanting the best for our babies, happiness and a good life will come out on top. But sometimes we wonder how successful they’ll be—will they do well at school? Will they go to university? It might seem unlikely to be able to determine whether a particular baby will be intelligent or successful in the future; after all, it’s going to be largely based on upbringing and education. However, new research has found a correlation between a certain physical feature and how likely the baby will succeed down the line.
And what is this feature? Well, it’s the size or circumference of the head and in this regard, the bigger the better.
Larger Heads Equal Better Cognitive Ability
A large study was carried out by the UK Biobank, a charity that helps conduct research in order to improve the diagnosis of illnesses. In this case, 100,000 people aged between 37 and 73 years living in the UK, were studied to find out if there were any links between their genes, overall health and their achievements and success.
Information about their backgrounds and lifestyle as well as urine, blood and saliva samples to obtain DNA was collected in order to determine any links. The researchers found an interesting connection between brain volume and head size when it came to cognitive ability. Lead author of the study, Professor Ian Deary from Edinburgh University, explained:
“Highly significant associations were observed between the cognitive test scores in the UK Biobank sample and many polygenic [a group of genes] profile scores, including intracranial [brain] volume, infant head circumference and childhood cognitive ability.”
In other words, babies born with larger head circumferences are more likely to gain academic achievements later on in life. They are more likely to obtain a degree as well as scoring highly on verbal-numerical reasoning tests.
“In addition to there being shared genetic influences between cognitive skills and some physical and mental health states, the study also found that cognitive skills share genetic influences with brain size, body shape and educational attainments.”
What Are The Ideal Measurements For Intelligence?
According to the World Health Organisation, the average size of a baby’s head is 36 cm for boys and 35 cm for girls–anything measuring larger than this is a good possible indication of future success. This may come as an extra bonus to those mums spending hours in labour or struggling to get that onesie over the head of their baby.
Of course this isn’t a hard and fast rule as other factors will influence how intelligent someone will be in their lifetime. However, the researchers believe the new evidence is so accurate that they can predict who is more likely to go to university from a line-up of babies.
So, why not dig out those old baby photos and see if the correlation is true? Or feel relieved in the knowledge that your baby’s slightly over-sized head will be a blessing later in life!
|||^||UK Biobank: Home page|
|||^||Molecular Psychiatry: Genome-wide association study of cognitive functions and educational attainment in UK Biobank|