However, a new contributing factor has been discovered by researchers. It turns out, curiosity plays a big role in shaping a child's intelligence, and promoting it may be a good way to ensure academic achievement, even for children in less developed areas.
With 6,200 kindergarten kids from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Birth Cohort, a study was conducted by researchers at the Michigan C.S. Mott Children's Hospital and the Center for Human Growth and Development. They were tested in math and reading when they were nine months, again when they were two years old, and the twice more when they started preschool and kindergarten respectively. Parents, on the other hand, were given survey questions to answer.
Results showed that children who came from a lower socioeconomic status fared poorer than their wealthy counterparts, but less-advantaged children who were more curious scored similarly to those who came from rich families. (Related: Lacking Education May Be as Deadly as Being a Smoker.)
"Our results suggest that while higher curiosity is associated with higher academic achievement in all children, the association of curiosity with academic achievement is greater in children with low socioeconomic status," study co-author Dr. Prachi Shah explained.
Curiosity, as used in the study, was defined as the "joy of discovery" and "motivation to seek answers to the unknown." Shah further revealed, promoting curiosity in less privileged children may be the solution to end the achievement gap between the poor and the rich.
Moreover, the drive for academic achievement is higher for kids who came from lower socioeconomic status. This is due to that fact that learning resources don't come as easy compared to kids who came from families with higher income.
The researchers also discovered that curious children have better social skills and emotional control than other kids. Another important finding of the study was the fact that effortful control -- the ability to stay focused in class -- has no big effect in academic achievement so long as the children are always hungry to learn more and discover new things.
Currently, schools are adamant that students need to focus all their attention in class discussions to learn and become smarter, but Shah argued that their study suggests an alternate message. She emphasized the importance of curiosity and how it should be considered as a contributing factor to academic achievement as well.
If you're curious whether your little one is naturally smart, or may need a bit of a boost, look for these early signs:
It may be different for every child, but nothing really bad comes out from observing whether yours has some – if not all – of these early signs.
Find a lot of interesting discoveries at Research.news.