When someone calls you ‘big-headed’ you’re likely to get offended. They don’t mean it as a compliment, and yet, it turns out having a big head isn’t a bad thing at all. In fact, a recent study showed that babies with larger craniums tend to be more intelligent later in life, as was first reported by The Independent.
The link between intelligence and genetics
Scientists have been trying to discover the link between intelligence and genetics for a long time now. Recently, they found that this was a trait passed down from the mother. But now, they have determined that another factor that influences how clever a person will be is the size of the head.
This study, published in the journal of Molecular Psychiatry, was conducted by researchers from various European universities. Their aim was to learn how genes, IQ and overall health are interconnected. In order to do this, they used the data provided by United Kingdom’s health resource UK Biobank. The scientists analyzed the blood, urine, and saliva samples of over a 100,000 people examined from 2006 to 2010. The cognitive and physical capabilities of the subjects were also assessed. The conclusion was that people born with bigger heads had “higher scores on verbal-numerical reasoning” and were more likely to earn a university degree. A head is considered ‘big’ if its circumference is larger than the average of 13.5-14 inches (34-35.5 cm).
Professor Ian Deary of Edinburgh University explained the results for Neuroscience News: “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.”
The study found that there are also other factors that influence a person’s intelligence. One of them is their overall health. “The study [also] supports an existing theory which says that those with better overall health are likely to have higher levels of intelligence,” researcher Saskia Hagenaars told The Independent.
This study certainly signifies a step forward in understanding the relation between genetics and intelligence, but there is still a long way to go. Scientists believe that these findings are very promising and that they will lead to more research being done in this field.
“These results,” they said, “should stimulate further research that will be informative about the specific genetic mechanisms of the associations found here, which likely involves both protective and detrimental effects of different genetic variants.”