Home / IQ / Scientists Say That Intelligence Comes From Mothers, Not From Fathers

Scientists Say That Intelligence Comes From Mothers, Not From Fathers

By Meera Kaushal, 6 May 2018

We can never thank our mothers enough for everything that they do for us in our life. And though we know you don’t need any more reasons to love her, we still have something amazing to share with you. Did you know that your intelligence has come from your mother? Well, if you were not aware of this fact, then dive into this article to know more about it. 

mother and baby

Image Source: www.publicdomainpictures.net

1Scientists have found that mothers transmit the intelligence genes

Different studies have come up in the last few decades, which prove that if a child is intelligent, then the credit for this goes to the mother. The most important aspect being that the intelligence genes are transferred to a child from the mother. But before we tell you about the said studies, let us give a brief description as to how certain genes function depending on their origin. 


Image Source: internapcdn.net

2The concept of “conditioned genes”

Conditioned genes are the ones which behave differently depending on the source of their origin. These genes have a biochemical tag on them due to which scientists are able to trace their origin and also the status of their functionality, meaning whether they are active or not. Now, some of these conditioned genes are active only when they come from the mother, and are deactivated when they come from the father. The vice-versa of this situation also occurs!

Intelligence genes are those types of conditioned genes which have to come from the mother in order to be in an active status. 

conditioned genes

Image Source: forbes.com

3One of the first studies in this area

In the year 1984, University of Cambridge had conducted a study on mice in laboratories in order to determine the process of co-evolution of the brain and also the conditioning of the genome. Through the genetically modified mice, it was found that the ones which had more of maternal genes actually developed bigger brains and heads and smaller bodies and the ones which had an extra dose of paternal genes had large bodies and small brains. 

studies on rats

Image Source: purch.com

4Interesting findings of the study

Further, researchers also identified certain cells that only had either the paternal genes or the maternal genes in almost 6 different parts of the brains of the mice. Interestingly, the cells from paternal genes went to the parts of the limbic system, which is basically involved in various functions of eating food, aggression and physical intimacy.

Brain stem

Image Source: sarahpiddington.com

While the cells with maternal genes went directly to the cerebral cortex, the area of the brain, which is responsible for all the cognitive functions such as language, reasoning, thought and planning. 

cerebral cortex

Image Source: brainmadesimple.com

5A more human approach to explore the details of intelligence

Some people may argue that how can the functioning of brains of mice be compared to the human brains. And keeping this in mind, researchers from Glasgow interviewed almost 12,686 youngsters ranging in the ages of 14 and 22 for several years since 1994. The researchers took many aspects into consideration, such as the education levels of the participants along with their race and socio-economic statuses. They still found that intelligence comes from the mother. 

more human approach

Image Source: uws.ac.uk

6Are genes the only determining factor when it comes to intelligence?

You may have had this question in your mind while reading this article. And to end your queries, we would like to tell you that some researchers say that the effect of genes on intelligence ranges from 40-60 percent. This means that a large chunk of the effects also come from the environment. 

outdoor activities for kids

Image Source: shkolazhizni.ru

7Mothers are also responsible for giving a nurturing environment

The role of a mother certainly doesn’t stop by transmitting the intelligence genes, as that is just the starting. Researchers have also found that a secure bond between a mother and a child also determine the IQ levels. In a study done at the University of Washington, it was found that a secure emotional bond between a child and the mother is a must for the proper development of some parts of the brain. 

mother loving her baby

Image Source: www.iaspaper.net

8Further findings of the study

The researchers analyzed the way a group of mothers behaved with their children for seven years. They found that those kids who were emotionally supported and got the chance to have their intellectual needs fulfilled had almost 10% larger hippocampus at the age of 13, as compared to the kids who had emotionally distant mothers around them. The hippocampus is that area of the brain, which is responsible for learning, memory and stress response. When there is a strong emotional bond between a child and the mother, it gives the kid a sense of security with which he can explore the world and also have the confidence to solve major problems. 

teaching kids to draw

Image Source: discov-her.com

9Fathers, don’t lose hope!

Although, till now all the fathers out there must have felt that they are nowhere responsible for the intelligence in their kids, but you don’t have to lose all hopes in this matter; as some researchers also say that traits such as intuition and emotions, which can actually be transferred from a father are also responsible in making a person potentially intelligent to solve everyday problems.

father playing with kid

Image Source: www.imperial.ac.uk

Apart from that, if you also take part in providing a nurturing environment for your kids, they will certainly grow to be more intelligent. 

intelligent kid

Image Source: www.emaze.com