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Childhood happiness and intelligence

  1. Feb 12, 2005 #1
    I have a theory that children may have stunted brainpower as a result of unhappy conditions--more intelligence would bring the world into unpleasant focus, so as a defense mechanism the child might learn to think less clearly. Does anyone know of data on the correlation between idyllic childhood and intelligence?
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2005
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 14, 2005 #2

    I was a miserable child.

    Mainly because i was so smart. Did that make me less smart? No.
  4. Feb 14, 2005 #3
    How about before age 4-5? Were you miserable in your very early childhood?
  5. Feb 14, 2005 #4

    I don't remember ever being particularly happy, outside of a few singular moments.
  6. Feb 15, 2005 #5


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    How the heck do you remember your state of mind when you were 4? I only have one memory I can think of from when I was 4, and I was sitting on Santa Claus' lap when he visited my preschool. I was probably fairly happy.

    I don't think it's good idea to conduct such an investigation based on memory. Find actualy children and follow them around until they're adults. Unless someone else has already done the same thing, that's the only way you're going to have your question answered, although I'm sure hitssquad can find a bible (I mean g factor) passage for you that is relevant somehow.
  7. Feb 15, 2005 #6
    I have many clear memories of my early childhood; the earliest goes back to age 2 or possibly earlier. My early childhood was idyllic.
  8. Feb 15, 2005 #7
    My parents got divorced when I was younger than five, and I had some difficult times that I vaguely remember. It's unlikely that it permanetly effected my intelligence since my intelligence is similiar to my Dad's, and he is well educated. If anything, my unhappy childhood moments may have made more more intelligent; I became cynical of the world at an early age, and my curiosity caused me to enhance my mind.
  9. Feb 16, 2005 #8
    I can say that my "intelligence" somewhat blossomed when i was 13, when I realized i could write and argue in writing pretty well. But my interest in science started when i was 16. Frankly, my main interest is physics, but I personally think I don't have the talent which physicists usually have, but my interest is what drives me, not really talent.

    I feel I've got more talent for the humanities but not as much interest in it as physics.

    on topic, i feel i was pretty ordinary in my childhood. I may be told that i was more "intelligent" by some. but it was just scoring higher than average marks during tests.
  10. Feb 16, 2005 #9
    I agree with misogynisticfeminist on this. I developed my interest in physics when I was 13. I do not consider myself to be exactly the most "intelligent" kid in the class. I was quite unhappy with my peers.

    The problem is the narrow-minded attitude which people have towards intelligence. Peoples' evaluation of intelligence of a person are wholly and solely based on the person's academic performance. There is little credit given to originality, skill and understanding.
  11. Feb 16, 2005 #10

    The people making those evaluations are known as morons.
  12. Feb 20, 2005 #11


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    "The child is father to the man", Wordsworth you know. How profound that is I think. Why is that so? I mean, we could start another thread on that one. It just goes to show how "history" affects our present behavior. That ties in well with another post I made elsewhere here about history. . . might use it if they come back on me. Thanks for the heads-up.
  13. Feb 20, 2005 #12


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    i don't think happiness and intelligence are tied together during childhood...i know of one person who plays along with jeopardy on television, gets 90% of the answers correct, (this person reads like it's an addiction), yet had their parent pass away suddenly when they were 3 years old. of course it was very traumatic, because this person and their parent were very close to one another.

    my parents divorced when i was young (3 years old), yet in grade school they wanted to move me up a grade level in the 2nd grade, and then also in the 5th grade. my mother opted not to have me move, so i was always one of the top students. once i reached junior high school, my focus for school declined some and i was back to the average student.

    i tend to think intelligence is something you are born with, but it is a person's will to use it that makes that intelligence blossom...
  14. Feb 20, 2005 #13
    Does anyone know the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder on intelligence?
  15. Feb 20, 2005 #14


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    after doing a google search, there only seemed to be anxiety disorders and relationship problems associated with post-traumatic stress disorder...nothing tied to intelligence. i think if a child in general is happier, they may focus what intelligence they are born with better then a child who doesn't, but i doubt that a level of intelligence is affected by happiness or lack of in a young child.
  16. Feb 21, 2005 #15
    I think it may become important to define "intelligence", at some point. After all, a person with no access to the knowledge that they may crave, will not become "knowledgeable" (obviously). So, if "intelligence" is merely the amount of knowledge you possess, then your upbringing can indeed have a great influence. However, if "intelligence" is the facility with which you would attain knowledge and comprehension (given the opportunity) then I don't see how your happiness in childhood could really affect it.
  17. Feb 21, 2005 #16
    Well, I'm looking now and while I'm not getting anything about intelligence per se, PTSD apparently destroys concentration which probably would decrease intelligence.
  18. Feb 21, 2005 #17
    I found something that says PTSD does not decrease intelligence but how that squares with interfering with concentration, I do not know.
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