Saturday, December 06, 2014

Kids from affluent families start out smarter than the poor and the gap between them and the poor widens further as they grow up

It has long been known that the rich are smarter.  Charles Murray got heavy flak when he showed that two decades ago but it's logical that people who are in general smart should also be smart with money.  But the gorgeous Sophie von Stumm has amplified that in the research below.  My previous comments about some of her research were rather derogatory but I find no fault with the work below.

Explaining the finding is the challenge.  An obvious comment is that measuring the IQ of young children is difficult  -- but not impossible -- and that the widening gap simply reflected more accurate measurements in later life.

I would reject the explanation that the better home life in a rich family helped improve the child's IQ -- because all the twin studies show that the family environment is a negligible contributor to IQ -- counter-intuitive though that might be.

The present findings do however tie in well with previous findings that the genetic influence on IQ gets greater as people get older.  People shed some environmental influences as they get older and become more and more what their genetics would dictate

Sophie von Stumm

Poverty affects the intelligence of children as young as two, a study has found - and its impact increases as the child ages.  Deprived young children were found to have IQ scores six points lower, on average, than children from wealthier families.

And the gap got wider throughout childhood, with the early difference tripling by the time the children reached adolescence.

Scientists from Goldsmiths, University of London compared data on almost 15,000 children and their parents as part of the Twins Early Development Study (Teds).  The study is an on-going investigation socio-economic and genetic links to intelligence.

Children were assessed nine times between the ages of two and 16, using a mixture of parent-administered, web and telephone-based tests.

The results, published in the journal Intelligence, revealed that children from wealthier backgrounds with more opportunities scored higher in IQ tests at the age of two, and experienced greater IQ gains over time.

Dr Sophie von Stumm, from Goldsmiths, University of London, who led the study, said: 'We’ve known for some time that children from low socioeconomic status (SES) backgrounds perform on average worse on intelligence tests than children from higher SES backgrounds, but the developmental relationship between intelligence and SES had not been previously shown.  'Our research establishes that relationship, highlighting the link between SES and IQ.


Socioeconomic status and the growth of intelligence from infancy through adolescence

By Sophie von Stumm &  Robert Plomin


Low socioeconomic status (SES) children perform on average worse on intelligence tests than children from higher SES backgrounds, but the developmental relationship between intelligence and SES has not been adequately investigated. Here, we use latent growth curve (LGC) models to assess associations between SES and individual differences in the intelligence starting point (intercept) and in the rate and direction of change in scores (slope and quadratic term) from infancy through adolescence in 14,853 children from the Twins Early Development Study (TEDS), assessed 9 times on IQ between the ages of 2 and 16 years. SES was significantly associated with intelligence growth factors: higher SES was related both to a higher starting point in infancy and to greater gains in intelligence over time. Specifically, children from low SES families scored on average 6 IQ points lower at age 2 than children from high SES backgrounds; by age 16, this difference had almost tripled. Although these key results did not vary across girls and boys, we observed gender differences in the development of intelligence in early childhood. Overall, SES was shown to be associated with individual differences in intercepts as well as slopes of intelligence. However, this finding does not warrant causal interpretations of the relationship between SES and the development of intelligence.


Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).

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