The boy who knew too much: a child prodigy

This is the true story of scientific child prodigy, and former baby genius, Ainan Celeste Cawley, written by his father. It is the true story, too, of his gifted brothers and of all the Cawley family. I write also of child prodigy and genius in general: what it is, and how it is so often neglected in the modern world. As a society, we so often fail those we should most hope to see succeed: our gifted children and the gifted adults they become. Site Copyright: Valentine Cawley, 2006 +

Thursday, June 14, 2007

High IQ promotes longevity

A high IQ confers many advantages on the possessor but perhaps the most valuable, in the long run, is that of a long life.

A UK study on 2,200 participants from Aberdeen, Scotland who took the 11-plus IQ examination in 1932, has thrown up some interesting correlations between IQ and ultimate longevity. The correlation is very strong indeed, compared to other factors which influence longevity.

The basic finding is that the better the child did in an IQ test in 1932, the more likely they were to survive until 76. The difference was marked between those of low IQ and those of higher IQ. A woman who scored one standard deviation above the norm, at IQ 115 in 1932, was TWICE as likely to survive to 76 as a woman who scored one standard deviation below the norm, at an IQ of 85. The correlation with men was not so strong, however, the difference in likelihood of survival in the same instance being 32% in favour of the IQ 115 male.

Now, the researchers were well aware of the known correlation between social status and health - and so this was accounted for in their analysis. Even accounting for the different occupations of the father and the attendant wealth differentials and differences in overcrowding in the households, the correlation remained intact: high IQ, as an independent variable, confers longevity on its possessor.

It is impossible with this information alone to isolate the reason for this correlation. It is likely to involve both genetics and lifestyle factors. Quite simply the high IQ person may have better genes in general and this could be responsible for promoting their health and longevity. There is also the likelihood that the higher IQ person is more likely to avoid such unhealthful habits as smoking, drinking to excess and the like - as well as adopting better dietary and lifestyle practices in general.

Whatever the ultimate cause of the correlation, the fact remains that the brighter your child (or you, are), the longer they are likely to live, INDEPENDENT OF SOCIO-ECONOMIC FACTORS. A factor two difference in likelihood of survival for women, with only a one standard deviation IQ advantage above the norm is an advantage of huge dimensions. Most health practices produce relatively small increases in chances of survival: that is the biggest advantage I have ever noted, in my reading, for a single influence. Remarkable.

(If you would like to read of Ainan Celeste Cawley, a scientific child prodigy, aged seven years and six months, or his gifted brothers, Fintan, three, and Tiarnan, sixteen months, please go to: I also write of gifted education, IQ, intelligence, child prodigy, child genius, baby genius, adult genius, savant, the creatively gifted, gifted adults and gifted children in general. Thanks.)

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 12:32 PM 


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