Tuesday 20 February 2018

Older dads more likely to have 'geeky' sons

Sons of older fathers are more likely to display
Sons of older fathers are more likely to display "geeky" traits

John von Radowitz

Sons of older fathers are more likely to display "geeky" traits, such as high intelligence, obsessional interests and not caring whether they fit in, a study has shown.

Scientists came to the conclusion after studying the behaviour of 15,000 twin pairs from the UK.

When the boys were 12 years old, they completed online tests that measured geek-like traits, including a high non-verbal IQ, a strong focus on personal interests, and social aloofness.

Parents were also asked if their offspring cared about how they were perceived by their peers, and whether they had any hobbies that took up a lot of their time.

Using the results, the researchers compiled a "geek index" for every child. Overall, sons of older fathers turned out to have a higher geek index score than those born when their dads were younger.

Geekiness appeared to "jump" after a father's 45th birthday.

However, being geeky was not necessarily a handicap.

Several years after their scores were measured, geekier boys did better in school exams than their classmates, especially in Stem (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects.

"Our study suggests that there may be some benefits associated with having an older father," said lead scientist Dr Magdalena Janecka.

"We have known for a while about the negative consequences of advanced paternal age, but now we have shown that these children may also go on to have better educational and career prospects."

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