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 +

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Height and Intelligence (IQ), a correlation.

There is a correlation between height and intelligence, as measured by IQ. The correlation is 0.2. Although this is a weak correlation, it is statistically significant and accounts for about 4% of the variation in IQ between people.

Now, before I go on, I should add that this correlation is not strong enough to bar the idea of a short, smart person. They exist, no doubt, in plenty. What it is saying, however, is that there is a tendency for intelligent people to also be taller.

Studies suggest that there are common genetic factors involved in both height and intelligence. So, it is no coincidence that they correlate, positively.

All this leads me to look at my own children. Ainan, for instance is notably tall for his age and race. He is about 1 metre 36 centimetres, as of a month or two ago (maybe taller now) - and growing fast. He is the tallest person in his class (barring another child of similar height). I understand there are about 40 people in his class. His shortest classmate is a full head shorter than Ainan. That is, his friend's head sits under Ainan's chin.

Ainan is not the tallest person in his year. That accolade goes to a friend of his. However, according to a chart of heights of American boys from 2000, he is now at least the average height of an American nine and a half year old boy. So, he is tall for his age.

I look at Fintan, too. In another post, I pointed out that Fintan was of the weight of a six year old Caucasian (actually, the weight of a six and a half year old, Caucasian American boy.) What I failed to point out, however, is that he is also of the HEIGHT of a six year old Caucasian boy (though he is only four years old). So, he, too, is rather tall for his age.

This impression of their heights is a little distorted (underestimated) by the fact that I am comparing them to a Caucasian population, when both are, of course, Eurasian (who tend to be slighter, and not so tall, as full Caucasians).

Looking at them, now, I can't help but wonder how tall they might be, one day. Will they be taller than their Daddy?

We will see. I wouldn't be surprised if both of them make it.

(If you would like to learn more of Ainan Celeste Cawley, a scientific child prodigy, aged eight years and one month, or his gifted brothers, Fintan, four years and six months, and Tiarnan, twenty-three months, please go to: I also write of gifted education, IQ, intelligence, the Irish, the Malays, Singapore, College, University, Chemistry, Science, genetics, left-handedness, precocity, child prodigy, child genius, baby genius, adult genius, savant, gifted adults and gifted children in general. Thanks.)

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 1:11 AM 


Blogger Punn Siwabutr said...

It's funny, but Punn is a full head taller than all his male classmates as well..

9:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


i think i was a child prodigy too..but it is over now seem i dont work harder to compete my friends in school n in i can remember.,,my height when i was standard 3(im actually 8 years ++ coz my birthday is on november 28th)is 143cm,and im a malay girl.

8:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not in the USA!
Korean children are usually shorter than the taller African Americans

12:28 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

I would think this correlation applies WITHIN a race and not BETWEEN races. So, a tall Korean would have a better chance of being smart than a short one (to a degree). The same goes for a tall African American compared to a shorter one. However, that would not mean the African is smarter than the Korean (though, of course, this is possible, too, given the variation within races).

I hope that helps.

2:47 PM  
Blogger Pleasant said...

Height and intelligence correlation is a skewed research inspired by eugenics and racism! It contradicts empirical knowledge. I suggest the "researchers" to look around them.

4:30 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Re. Paranoid remark.

No. It isn't racism or is statistics. Now, you can decry the result all you like, but it doesn't change it. I rather think you have misunderstood it. It is not saying that a taller RACE is is saying that those who are taller WITHIN a race, (if race was to be raised) are typically brighter, although specific instances could surely be found otherwise. Your "empirical" you know a bright, short person is scientifically speaking meaningless unless your sample is unbiased and large enough to be significant. The researchers' is, yours isn't.

So, relax...not all the world is "racist".

11:14 PM  
Blogger XMangoSaintX said...


I don't know exactly how did yu come up with this research..
but is there a paper which is peer reviewed?
Where are the stats?

7:22 AM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Hi MangoSaint,

I saw this work in a paper, somewhere online. I should have linked to it...sorry. I didn't. I just extracted the key points for this article. I forget now where I found it.

You should note this is a blog and not a scientific journal. Many practices that would be helpful in a journal context look intrusive and unwelcome in a blog context. My writing would become too obtuse were I to include too much from the articles I reference. People would, mostly, stop reading were I to do what you ask.


7:08 PM  
Blogger MAHLOSANE said...

Although not scientifically proven, I have personally observed that taller people tend to more stupid than the shorter. My observations were made on a number of African (Swazi) groups into which I got (I was part of).

Taller GUYS tend to be slow thinkers and they usually talk like they have not given their ideas a thought.

I think its not actually all about height; maybe geographic location and race also count. For example, maybe tall white are smatter than their shorter brothers while the opposite is true for blacks.

10:02 PM  

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