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Study links poverty to low IQ
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 05, 2014 10:26 AM

Studies seem to contradict the relationship between IQ and socioeconomic status. While having a high IQ score doesn't guarantee success in life, it does help students do well in school. However, IQ isn't really something people can dramatically affect. You can increase your IQ slightly by learning new things and playing an instrument, but the impact is minimal. New preliminary research from Goldsmiths University of London further solidifies the idea that IQ is out of our hands - researchers discovered that children from low-income households tend to have an IQ that's about six points lower than peers from well-off families. 

Checking the numbers
Researchers analyzed data that was part of the Twins Early Development Study (Teds), comparing information on 15,000 families. The Teds is a study that's looking at the connection between socioeconomic status and genetic factors as they relate to intelligence. The data includes quizzes kids took and questionnaires parents answered about their children, who were between the ages of 2 and 16. 

The 2-year-olds from wealthier families scored higher on tests than kids from poor backgrounds, and the difference in intelligence only increased over time. So not only does socioeconomic status initially create an IQ difference, according to the study, but it also compounds the score gap later in childhood.

Researchers noted that kids who are well-off are exposed to more opportunities, such as music lessons and a good education. 

"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," Dr. Sophie von Stumm, a researcher from Goldsmiths University of London, who led the study, said in a statement. "But the developmental relationship between intelligence and SES had not been previously shown."

Contradicting evidence
The Goldsmiths University of London study seems to contradict other research. Published in the journal Intelligence, another study indicated that while socioeconomic status may have some impact on IQ, the effect is minimal compared to the influence of genes. In fact, genetics are more important in determining a child's intelligence. Researchers noted that the same genes that cause high IQ may also be associated with low socioeconomic status - less intelligent parents don't make as much money, so their family ends up with less opportunities. In this situation, kids inherit low IQ but also grow up in a poorer environment. 

Both studies claim their results are accurate and make sense logically, so the contradicting outcomes indicate that the jury is still out on socioeconomic status and its ties to IQ. 

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