Older Dads Have Smarter Sons
A new study suggests that sons of older fathers are exceptionally “geekier” compared to other children. This means they are brainy, more focused on their interests, and less concerned about fitting in and unmindful of opinions of others.
Aside from that, the study found that geekier sons have the edge over other children when it comes to career and education.
These key findings were confirmed by Magdalena Janecka, PhD, a co-author and a postdoctoral research fellow at The Seaver Center.
Dr. Janecka said, “Our study suggests that kids of older men are not only smarter, but also better able to adapt to environments that require dedicated pursuit of one’s goals, characteristics that promote educational and, likely, career success.”
The study was spearheaded by researchers from the Seaver Autism Center for Research and Treatment at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.
The Study and Results
The researchers collected behavioral and cognitive data from 15,000 UK-based twin pairs from the Twins Early Development Study (TEDS). Through the data gathered, the researchers were able to compute a “geek index” for every child in the study.
The collecting of data phase of the study included administering tests through online questions. The test gauged the “geek-like” traits of the twins. The respondents also answered questions on non-verbal IQ, subjects of interests, and levels of aloofness. Parents also participated in the survey. They were asked whether their child cared about how they were perceived by peers and whether the child had interests that took up a substantial amount of time.
The results were interesting!
The study team found that overall, higher “geek index” scores were reported in the sons of older fathers.
Aside from that, the researchers found that these children performed better on school exams, particularly in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subjects, several years after their index was measured.
Previous studies have asserted that paternal age is linked to higher tendency for their children to be autistic. But the recent study is suggesting otherwise. However, the researchers pointed that the key findings of the recent study offer important implications for understanding the links between higher paternal age, autism, and characteristics typically seen in “geeks.”
Thus, the team of researchers pointed out the need for more studies to test the hypothesis that some of the genes that are more likely to be present in older fathers may contribute to either “geekiness” or autism, depending on how many of them the child inherits.
Dr. Janecka stressed, “We think it’s particularly important to acknowledge the benefits associated with older fathers, as these results will help better inform us about the links between higher paternal age, autism, and the positive characteristics identified in the study.”