Older Dads Have Geekier Sons

Study says mother's age appears to have no effect at all
By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 25, 2017 1:26 PM CDT
Older Dads Have Geekier Sons
A father's age appears to affect his son's 'geek' factor.   (Getty Images / FangXiaNuo)

A new study suggests an upside for boys who have older dads: higher IQs. More specifically, they tend to score higher on what the researchers call the "geek index," reports the Guardian. And this is clearly seen as a positive: "If you look at who does well in life right now, it’s geeks," says Magdalena Janecka at King’s College London. The geek index, she explains, is determined by such factors as ability to focus, non-verbal IQ scores taken at age 12, and social aloofness. The latter trait may sound like a negative, but the BBC frames it as the boys not being overly concerned with fitting in. A mother's age appears to have no impact. The team studied more than 7,000 sets of twins in the UK. The average geek score for boys born to dads 25 or younger is 39. It goes up to 41 when dads had the child between 35 and 44, and jumps to 47 when dads were 50 or older.

The impact was less pronounced on girls, and more pronounced when measuring science, tech, engineering, and math scores. Kids born to fathers 50 or older were 32% more likely to earn at least two A's on standardized tests than children born to men aged under 25, the researchers report in Translational Psychiatry. They calculate that 57% of the geek index score is inherited, with possible overlap between genes that contribute to a high geek score and to autism. “Our primary hypothesis is that higher levels of those ‘geeky’ traits in offspring of older men are mainly due is due to characteristics of the fathers themselves," Janecka tells Newsweek. "Men who decide to delay fatherhood often do so due to their extended career and educational pursuits, and likely themselves display higher levels of ‘geekiness.’” (Younger fathers are also likelier to die younger.)

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