We’ve always heard that size doesn’t matter, but in reference to an infant’s head, size does matter a lot. Briefly put, according to research findings, the bigger the head, the smarter the baby.
This study was done by a group of scientists at the research giant UK Biobank. The data used in the study was collected from a pool of 100,000 subjects in the 37-73 years age range and raw data from the subjects was in the form of saliva, urine, and blood samples and, of course, physical and cognitive assessments.
The physical assessments involved a look into the subjects’ general health and lifestyle choices, while the cognitive assessments took into account verbal and numerical reasoning skills, memory and mental reaction times. The final data analysis was led by the University of Edinburgh, with scientists from the UK, the US, and Germany being a part of the team.
According to the study, there is a significant direct correlation between infant head circumference and levels of intelligence, as revealed by higher scores on verbal-numerical reasoning tests administered to the subjects. The research also revealed that babies born with bigger-than-average heads were more likely to get a university degree. Education accomplishments were, indeed, one of the testing factors included in the cognitive assessments.
At birth, doctors are always keen on recording the weight of the newborn baby and tracking this weight during the early months and years. Measuring head sizes is not something you hear every day, but the average newborn baby boy has a head size of 36 cm, compared to a newborn baby girl’s head size of 35 cm. According to the findings of the research, an infant head circumference in the range of 31.75 cm-35.56 cm defines the threshold for a head size that is linked with higher intelligence levels later in life.
The findings of this research were documented in a paper, first published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry. The conclusion? There is a definite correlation between infant head size and cognitive function.
The researchers that took the lead on this study agree that they can’t as yet exhaustively and fully discuss the implications of these findings. They do, however, agree that these findings should be reason enough to invest more into doing further research about how genetic mechanisms and other biological pathways affect and influence cognitive function and health.
The next time you are looking at your newborn and thinking that your little one’s head is a size too big to fit into those cute baby hats you bought while you were still pregnant and hadn’t seen your child, just remember that it could mean something good for your child in the future. Your child will do well in school, more than likely, be at the top of their class, and when the time comes, you won’t have to worry about whether or not they will join a university.
It, of course, goes without saying that other factors such as genetics and the overall environment will also greatly influence a child’s influence, but according to science, you can tell just from the size of the baby’s head.