Researchers claim that older fathers tend to have children who score higher on the “geek index”.
What qualities make a geek? The researchers say that in this case, a geek is someone with a higher IQ, is more aloof, and tends to focus more on their interests. You may know a geek or three, and you may even be one yourself. If you perform well academically, have a smaller social circle, and have an intense passion for Firefly or any interest, then you're probably a geek.
When men have children at an older age, it seems that there's a higher chance that the children will be geekier than their peers. This means that they'll likely perform better than their peers at technical school subjects.
The geek index is actually a real thing, at least for this research. The researchers assessed children's non-verbal IQ at age 12 and asked parents about how social and focused the children are. The combined scores becomes the overall geek index.
The researchers gathered 7,781 twins living in Britain for the study. According to the findings, children born to older fathers tended to score higher on the geek index than children born to younger fathers. Children whose fathers were 25 or younger scored an average of 39.6 points on the geek index. Meanwhile, children whose fathers were 35 to 44 years old scored an average of 41. Children whose fathers were older than 50 scored an average of 47.
The sex of the children also seems to play a part. The findings show that the geek effect of having an older father is stronger in boys than in girls. Researchers found that the geek index score rose by 1.5 points for every years of the father's age. However, it's also possible that girls simply display geekiness in a different way. The age of the mother, meanwhile, doesn't seem to have any effect at all on the children's geekiness.
This is actually one of the first studies to look favorably upon older fathers. Even the study's researchers once wrote a paper detailing how having older parents increases the risks of the child developing autism and schizophrenia. This newer study now shows that an older father may give children an advantage when it comes to academics and career advancement.
The question, of course, is why older men father geekier children. One theory, in a nutshell, is that these fathers are also geeky themselves. It's likely that they delayed fatherhood in order to focus on their education and building their careers. It's also likely that they simply passed those geeky genes on to their kids.
Though we can say that maybe the fathers' age has nothing to do with the children's geekiness, this conclusion won't fit with the findings. The researchers found that the effect of the father's age on the children's geekiness didn't change when factors like educational attainment or socioeconomic status were considered.
Of course, there may be other factors involved in why some people delay parenthood, or become parents at an age older than the average. One thing we can expect, though, is that older fathers are more likely to produce geeky offspring.
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