10 Reasons You're Not As Smart As You Were Supposed To Be


Photo: trix0r via Flickr

Every parent worries about screwing up their child’s life. Even with the best intentions, some parenting mistakes are inevitable.Unfortunately, some of those mistakes made us dumber along the way.

Many factors influence our intelligence. Some are genetic and are out of our hands. Others, like excessive drinking, are self-induced. Others have to do with how we were brought up.

Here are a few things that dumbed us down along the way.

(Keep in mind, correlation does not equal causation, so read the following with a grain of salt).

You went to summer camp

According to Stephen Ceci of Psychology Today, summer vacations hurt IQs.

'Two independent studies have documented that there is a systematic decline in IQ scores over the summer months,' he writes. 'With each passing month away from school, children lose ground from their end-of-year scores. The decline is pronounced for children whose summers are least academically oriented.'

Last time we checked, our summer camps had nothing to do with maths, literature, or science. Strike one.

You didn't get enough hugs

If you weren't given enough affection as a child, you're more likely to be insecure and not as smart as kids who were cuddled.

You were fed formula

Breastmilk has been shown to increase IQ and improve a child's immune system.

If you were fed formula instead, you probably took more sick days (and learned less). You also missed out on some extra brain cells.

Your parents let you cry it out

Psychology Today looks at Education

You ate school cafeteria lunches

flavour enhancers are abundant in processed food. According to Psychology Today, these enhancers are 'amino acids like monosodum glutamate, known to kill brain cells, which can screw up brain function, leading perhaps to ADHD and less learning.'

And guess what? Pre-Michelle Obama, school cafeterias primarily sold processed food.

Psychologist Stephen Ceci writes about an experiment showing how processed food negatively effects IQ:

'In one large-scale analysis of approximately 1 million students enrolled in the New York City school system, researchers examined IQ scores before and after preservatives, dyes, colorings and artificial flavours were removed from lunch offerings. They found a 14% improvement after the removal. And the improvement was greatest for the weakest students. Prior to the dietary changes, 120,000 of the students were performing two or more grade levels below average. Afterward, the figure dropped to 50,000.'

You were bullied

New studies show that bullying does more than just make children depressed. It can actually kill brain cells.

The Boston Globe reports, 'Bullying can leave an indelible imprint on a teen's brain at a time when it is still growing and developing. Being ostracized by one's peers, it seems, can throw adolescent hormones even further out of whack, lead to reduced connectivity in the brain, and even sabotage the growth of new neurons.'

You were the youngest in your class

'Students born late in the year, as a group, show a lower IQ score,' says Ceci.

'Given the random processes involved in being born early versus late within a given year, we can assume that the genetic potential for intelligence is the same in both groups.'

You were held back a year

This doesn't happen often, but occasionally parents think their children need to start school later, and sometimes they hold their children back a grade. If yours did that, it may have been a mistake. Researchers have found that delayed schooling negatively effects IQ.

'Researchers in South Africa studied the intellectual functioning of children of Indian ancestry. For each year of delayed schooling, the children experienced a decrement of five IQ points,' says Ceci. 'Similar data has been reported in the U.S.'

You watched Sesame Street

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