A new meta-study out of New York University, which reviewed previous studies on whether parents could directly increase their children’s IQ, has found that not all accepted methods of boosting intelligence are effective: “When it comes to nutrition, there’s not much evidence that multivitamins do any good, but having pregnant and lactating moms and young kids take Omega-3 fatty acid supplements (particularly DHA) likely does. Just having books in the home might not help, but interactive reading with children under 4 could boost IQ by around 6 points.”
What’s the Big Idea?
Questions as to whether parental factors, such as the presence of a loving and supportive learning environment, increases intelligence were outside the scope of the study, which reviewed only randomized controlled trials, typically considered the gold standard for making causal claims about the efficacy of medical or educational interventions. “One would have to randomly assign children to parents who are or aren’t loving and supportive; to households that are or aren’t stable.” In general, the study’s results suggest that engaged parenting and early preschool can help erase intelligence gaps that correspond to economic inequalities.