Sons of older fathers may be geekier and more intelligent, says study

22 June 2017, 02:41 PM
Older fathers' sons may be geekier and more intelligent
Older fathers' sons may be geekier and more intelligent

Sons of older fathers are more intelligent, more focused on their interests and less bothered about adjusting, all traits typically seen in 'geeks', suggests new research.

While previous research connected older paternal age with an increased risk of autism and schizophrenia, this study published in Translational Psychiatry implies that children of older fathers may also have certain advantages over their fellow mates in education and career wise.

We have known for a while about the harmful consequences of advanced paternal age, but now we have shown that these children may also go on to have better educational and career prospects," said Magdalena Janecka from King's College London.

The researchers accumulated behavioural and cognitive information from Britain's 15,000 twin pairs in the Twins Early Development Study (TEDS).

When the twins were 12 years old, they finished online tests that measured 'geek-like' characteristics including non-verbal IQ, strong fixation about interest and degrees of social aloofness. 

From this information, the researchers calculated a 'geek index' for every child in the study and higher geek index scores were stated in the sons of older fathers.

Additionally, they found that 'geekier' children perform better in school exams, particularly in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects.

These results also have implications for understanding the association between higher paternal age, autism and features typically seen in 'geeks'.

The researchers believe some of the genes for ‘geekiness' and for autism are overlapping, and that those genes are expected to be present in older fathers.

“When the child is born only with some of those genes, they may be more likely to succeed in school. However, with a higher 'dose' of these genes, they may end up with a higher predisposition for autism," Janecka said.

First Published: Thursday, June 22, 2017 02:37 PM

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