Turns out there may be something to all of those cartoon brainiacs with big heads after all. Sure, having a large noggin’ has long been associated with having more smarts, but we’ve never had any actual proof of this. Until now, that is.
That’s thanks to new research from scientists at UK Biobank, who actually looked at head size and intelligence to see if there was a correlation. We’re not just talking a few hundred or thousand heads here either; we’re talking about research comprised of 100,000 subjects. For those who like to follow studies, it’s fair to say that’s a lot.
According to the charity, babies who are born with a larger head are more likely to get a degree, and they also scored higher on tests. The theory is that those with larger heads have more brain matter to work with.
Of course the study dug a little deeper than that to also look at genetic markers that affect brain function, mental and physical health. Plus the subjects — whose ages ranged from 37 to 73 years old — submitted saliva, blood and urine samples as part of the research process, and also answered questions about their overall lifestyles.
All this isn’t to say if your baby’s head is average (36 cm for boys and 35 cm for girls, according to the World Health Organization) or slightly below, that you have any reason to worry. Babies come in all shapes and sizes, and as one researcher from the study put it, “The study supports an existing theory which says that those with better overall health are likely to have higher levels of intelligence.”
So there you have it — good overall health is the key to higher intelligence. If you happen to have a larger head to boot, well maybe you’re just a couple of extra steps ahead.