Children who grow up in greener areas have higher IQs and lower levels of difficult behavior
- The researchers looked at the IQ and behavior of 600 children aged 10 to 15 years
- They used satellite imagery to survey the green of their neighborhoods
- For every three percent more green, the IQ rose by 2.6 points
Growing up in an area with more green spaces has a positive effect on a child's intelligence. This was found in a new study that found that people in greener urban areas had higher IQs.
A team from the University of Hasselt, Belgium, analyzed the IQs of over 600 children and used satellite images to study the green coverage of their neighborhoods.
The children in the study were all between 10 and 15 years old, according to the team. A 3 percent increase in the green resulted in an increase in IQ of around 2.6 points.
The researchers also found that children in the study had fewer behavior problems when they lived in an area that had more green space.
The increase in IQ score as a result of living in a green setting had the biggest impact on those on the lower end of the spectrum, as small changes made a big difference.
A team from the University of Hasselt, Belgium, analyzed the IQs of over 600 children and used satellite images to study the green coverage of their neighborhoods. Image from a picture agency
This is the first time IQ is seen as a potential benefit of exposure to green spaces in childhood. Other studies have looked at broader cognitive benefits.
Researchers aren't sure why IQ increases with exposure to a green environment, but suspect that this might have to do with lower levels of stress.
IQ and location data come from the East Flanders Prospective Twin Survey (EFPTS), a registry of multiple births in the province of East Flanders, Belgium.
The average IQ of those involved was 105, but the team found that 4 percent of children with a score below 80 grew up in areas of low green.
It wasn't just intelligence that was affected by living in a greener area – the team found that this also helped improve some children's behavior.
They found that with each increase in green, behavior problems decreased by 3 percent.
The team said that a well-planned city could offer unique opportunities to create an "optimal environment" for children to reach their full potential.
In 1950, only 30 percent of the world's population lived in urban areas. Today that is more than half the world's population and is expected to rise to 68 percent by 2050, ”the team said.
"There's growing evidence that green environments are linked to our cognitive function," study author Tim Nawrot told The Guardian.
"I think urban builders should prioritize investing in green spaces because there is really value in creating an optimal environment in which children can reach their full potential."
According to the study's authors, the benefits of green space in urban areas were not replicated in rural communities – likely because those areas had enough green space for everyone to benefit, so the effects weren't as localized.
The increase in IQ score as a result of living in a green setting had the biggest impact on those on the lower end of the spectrum, as small changes made a big difference. Image from a picture agency
The authors believe that a combination of lower noise levels and lower stress levels in green spaces helps improve IQ and behavior.
Part of this is also due to the fact that areas with more greenery have more opportunities for physical and social activity – which can improve IQ scores itself.
& # 39; Our results show that green spaces in residential areas can be beneficial for the intellectual and behavioral development of children living in an urban setting.
"We have shown a shift in the IQ distribution of urban children associated with exposure to green spaces in residential areas," the authors wrote.
The results were published in the journal PLOS Medicine.
& # 39; INTELLIGENCE QUOTIENT & # 39; (IQ) is a measure of mental ability
IQ stands for Intelligence Quotient and is used to measure mental abilities.
The abbreviation & # 39; IQ & # 39; was first coined by the psychologist William Stern to describe the German term intelligence quotient.
Historically, IQ is a score obtained by dividing a person's mental age, determined by an intelligence test, by their age.
The resulting fraction is then multiplied by 100 to obtain an IQ value.
An IQ of 100 has long been considered the median.
Because of the way the test scores are scaled, a person with an IQ of 60 is not half as intelligent as a person with an IQ of 120.
The order of the IQ scores also means that the results are “normally distributed,” meaning that the same number of people score points on either side of the average.
For example, the same number of people get 70 points as people who get 130 points.
Although the accuracy of intelligence tests is somewhat controversial, they are still widely used.
For Mensa, the acceptance rating requires that the members belong to the top two percent of the total population.
Depending on the IQ test, this may require a score of at least 130.
IQ scores of famous people:
- Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking – 160
- Donald Trump – 156
- Emma Watson – 138
- Arnold Schwarzenegger – 135
- Nicole Kidman – 132
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