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Slow Starters Have Higher IQ? 303

lockefire writes "Science Daily is reporting that children with 'superior' IQ's tend to have a slow start in the development of their cortex. These children have a 'delayed but prolonged' spurt that causes their cortex thickness to peak later than their peers and thin much quicker. This effect is most evident in the pre-frontal cortex. 'People with very agile minds tend to have a very agile cortex,' says Dr. Philip Shaw of the NIMH."
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Slow Starters Have Higher IQ?

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  • Nature vs. Nurture? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jellomizer ( 103300 ) * on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @07:17PM (#15062256)

    I wonder if the reason for this is that the slow starters grow up thinking they are not that smart. So they don't close their minds, as fast as their average IQ counterparts. to new ideas because they have been humbled enough to realize what they know may not be always correct. Vs. Children who grow up and start off smart early so they know they are ahead of everyone else so they assume that they are smarter then everyone else so they close their minds more to different ideas. And the change in thickness of their cortex is because the slower starters need to exercise their minds more.

    Growing up I myself heard a lot of arguments against correct Ideas from the "Smart" students, arguments like I am the next Level class above you so your information is wrong and I am right. So they go on for the rest of their life with the wrong ideas about things while the "Slower" student goes along absorbing information and different ideas thus making their minds more agile.

    I know many slashdotters don't like the nurture side of the debate because results are not as predictable, and some think it is an attack on evolution which it isn't. But especially the brain is very adaptable to environmental changes and can even "rewire" itself if serious damage occurs. I wonder if they could do statical information where they put the slower starter child in an environment where they taught information much more slowly and see how the brain develops in that situation.
    • by Alaren ( 682568 ) on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @07:29PM (#15062325)

      "I wonder if the reason for this is that the slow starters grow up thinking they are not that smart."

      It's an interesting idea but a significant misinterpretation of the data. The "slow start" does not refer to their intellectual development, it refers to the maturation of their cortex--which is slower to start, but (from the release) "Matures Faster in Youth with Highest IQ." This is a biological slow start, not an environmental one.

      Nurture is important, but nature is unavoidable. It's not very politically correct to say so, but biology plays as sure a factor in your intelligence as your upbringing.

      • by CarlinWithers ( 861335 ) on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @07:41PM (#15062419)
        I think it's politically incorrect to say this because no one should ever hear that they are "doomed to be dumb". I actually agree that no one should hear this, but denying that nature has a large effect on intellegence isn't the way.

        People need to realise that there are many types of intelligence, and that not having a high IQ really only related to a small number of them. There is acedemic intelligence (heck you can often find a person who is great in one subject area and not another), there is emotional intelligence, there is interpersonal/social intelligence, there is technical (hands on) aptitudes that are also intelligences.

        Nature affecting IQ doesn't mean that someone who has "bad" genes is dumb. It just means that they will probably use some other intelligence or talent to make their contribution to the world.
        • I know more than a few teachers who are angered by the unfunded mandate "no child left behind" the arguments appear to boil down to
          1- there are some kids that should be left behind, there are some that are just dumb-some that should dig ditches.

          2-other countries (esp the ones that always show the highest test scores) let kids out of school as early as age 10 if they aren't suited to education, and that would mean the remaining students will test higher on average

          3-it's unfunded, yet for education systems t
          • Re:hmmm. (Score:5, Informative)

            by Guy Harris ( 3803 ) <guy@alum.mit.edu> on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @08:22PM (#15062622)
            other countries (esp the ones that always show the highest test scores) let kids out of school as early as age 10 if they aren't suited to education

            Could you please name the countries that 1) always show the highest test scores and 2) let kids out of school as early as age 10?

            Finland is, as I remember, one of those high-scoring countries, but the Basic Education page [www.edu.fi] at the Finnish National Board of Education site [www.edu.fi] says "Basic Education means the general education provided for each age group in its entirety. It is intended for children from seven to sixteen years of age, and its completion in comprehensive school takes nine years."

            Japan is another of the high-scoring countries; the US Library of Congress Country Studies information on Japan [loc.gov] says under "Primary and Secondary Education" that, at least as of 1994, "Education is compulsory and free for all schoolchildren from the first through the ninth grades" and a diagram in the report (PDF) [loc.gov] indicates that this runs up to age 14. (The page on "Upper-Secondary Education" indicates that, even after age 14, "94 percent of all lower-secondary school graduates entered uppersecondary schools in 1989".)

            • I have not looked into it myself, and wasn't tossing it out for that to be the most relevent portion.
              the most relevant to the discussion idea was, some kids are dumb? it's a fact yes or no?

              p.s. however, I ask you to consider, what would the affect on highschool average test scores be if you dropped the lowest six percent at age 14?
            • The average IQ of Finns is about 98.5, about the same as in US. However, Finns are great at PISA. This is mostly because of two reasons:

              1) Finns are good for schooling. They are bit passive and believe (too) easily in authority.

              2) The Finns have a narrow gene pool. This means that a Finn is somewhat similar to another Finn. A homogeneous class is easier to teach.

              The Finnish school system is not that optimal. Children are still though in 25 to 32 pupil groups, depending on age. However, the teachers ar

          • Re:hmmm. (Score:5, Insightful)

            by techno-vampire ( 666512 ) on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @10:23PM (#15063190) Homepage
            I know more than a few teachers who are angered by the unfunded mandate "no child left behind"

            That's only one of the two problems with that idea. The other, and bigger is that "No child left behind." ends up as "No child gets ahead." Teachers spend so much time dragging along the slowest learners, the ones who really need to be left behind because the need that extra time, that they can't give the best and the brightest the attention they need and deserve. Thus, trying to bring the slowest up to standard means the best have to be held back.

        • by Mistshadow2k4 ( 748958 ) on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @08:17PM (#15062602) Journal

          I think I might be an example of both arguements here. I was a slow learner when young but then suddenly surpassed my classmates about 5th grade or so. Before then I thought I was dumber than the rest of them. Slow development because of the cortex, or did I just try harder because I thought I was dumb? At age 35, it's hard for me to remember.

          In high school my IQ test claimed I was near genius. So why can't I learn to read music? Several people have tried to teach me and I've tried to learn but I just never get it. Yet I'm quite intuitive about computers and GUIs. Neither of my parents were above average, but my mother could finish a difficult crossword puzzle in 10 minutes flat, whereas I can't finish one of average difficulty. Her mind grasped the pattern in them but apparently mine does not. I'm not good at other word games either like she was, but I'm very good at puzzles that involve shapes, colors and pieces (tetris, etc.). So there definitely are people who are better at some things than others, regardless of IQ or how developed their brains are supposed to be, which is much the same as saying there are different sorts of intelligence.

          • It's the basic problem with IQ tests. They don't measure overall intelligence, but rather, one particular sort of intelligence. Hell, there probably isn't any way to assign a single number to overall intelligence just like you can't assign a single number to overall strength. Some people have more upper-body strength, some more lower-body strength, some more endurance, etc.
          • by shawb ( 16347 ) on Wednesday April 05, 2006 @12:56AM (#15063882)
            Regarding not being able to learn music, there are several possibilities (I don't know enough about your personal background (actually, I know nothing about your musical background) so these may not apply to you.) Sorry if any of these sounds like insults, it's just conversation and mental excercise

            1) You were not taught how to play a musical instrunment at an early enough age. Music is an expressive form, which can essentially communicate ideas or at least emotions, likely very similar to language. It is vastly easier for people to learn new languages at a certain age (I think younger than about 6 years old? Someone more versed in developmental psychology may feel free to correct me here.) After that age, it becomes more and more difficult to learn a foreign language. Although learning any foreign language in this critical time appears to make it much easier to learn a different foreign language later in life than if the person only learned their native tongue. My guess is that translating between languages is a skill that must be learned early to be fully effective.

            2) It is possible that you are simply tone deaf. Not meant to be an insult. Some people have innate "perfect pitch" and can replicate any tone given to them. Some people are on the other end of the spectrum and have a very difficult time differentiating between any pitches. This seems to be mostly a physiological limitation of some sort, although practice can move one significantly closer to the "perfect pitch" end of the spectrum. (Personally, I don't have "traditional" perfect pitch in which I can hear a tone and tell if it middle C or not, but am fairly decent at discerning relative pitches... E.G. if one note is four steps above another, if one pitch is an octave double of another, etc etc.)

            3) The people who tried to teach you how to read music may have simply not been good teachers in this particular field.

            4) Whether or not the reading music was in an attempt to learn an instrunment that you are interested in playing can make a big difference. And some instrunments are more suited for learning to read music: the piano being pretty much ideal as it is laid out in pretty much the exact form that sheet music is written in. But I think whether or not you are actually interested in learning that particular instrunment is more important (assuming a melodic instrunment... learning to play drums or other rhythmic instrunments would not help.)

            5) Many of the other details in your post imply that you are an extremely visual thinker as opposed to verbal. Your relative ability to play tetris over doing a crossword puzzle is very telling of this. Even your doing poorly early on in school and then finally racing ahead is very telling. Much of early education seems to be rote memorization, which is done better in a verbal mindframe. Since speech is a linear process it would seem logical that memorizing lists of facts etc would come easier to a verbal thinker. Defining a visual thinker is a bit difficult to do with words, but it is my opinion that the thought processes are not nearly as linear and there are multiple parallel concepts being processed at the same time. This allows for a greater ease in learning certain abstract topics which would only come into play later in an academic career. I believe that visual thinkers have a little bit more difficult time learning a completely foreign topic. This is because (in my opinion) that visual thinkers need to compare the thing being learned to other related ideas. But once a few key concepts in the area are known, it becomes quite trivial for the visual learner to visualize the patterns of how other concepts link into the framework of the entire topic or discipline. This could possibly be compared to object oriented programming, where once a class is set up all the information and functions contained within can then be reused by something which needs it. A visual mode of thinking means that you have to have a baseline knowledge built up to be a
            • 1) You were not taught how to play a musical instrunment at an early enough age. Music is an expressive form, which can essentially communicate ideas or at least emotions, likely very similar to language. It is vastly easier for people to learn new languages at a certain age (I think younger than about 6 years old? Someone more versed in developmental psychology may feel free to correct me here.) After that age, it becomes more and more difficult to learn a foreign language. Although learning any foreign la
      • Misinterpretation of data? On slashdot!? Never!
      • Nurture is important, but nature is unavoidable.

        Make Darwin proud: Repeal helmet laws!
    • I suspect that this is unlikely, and not because Nature is the answer to everything, but because I don't think that being made fun of for being behind makes 100% of those students work harder to make themselves smarter.

      The real finding here provides dramatic support to the Nature side of the debate. Students that end up being identified as the most intelligent are those whose cortices (the site of higher cognitive thought) continue to develop for longer, hitting their peak much later than their less gif
    • Looks a good application for cloning.

      Rinse. Repeat.
    • by LetterRip ( 30937 ) on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @07:40PM (#15062413)
      [QUOTE]I wonder if the reason for this is that the slow starters grow up thinking they are not that smart. [/QUOTE]

      Has nothing to do with that :) You might want to read the article,

      [QUOTE]The smartest 7-year-olds tended to start out with a relatively thinner cortex that thickened rapidly, peaking by age 11 or 12 before thinning. In their peers with average IQ, an initially thicker cortex peaked by age 8, with gradual thinning thereafter.[/QUOTE]

      The 'slow start' is on the thickness of the cortex, they had higher IQs at the lower (age 7) age when they had the thinner cortex than the lower IQ children at the same age.

      LetterRip
    • by Cornflake917 ( 515940 ) on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @07:42PM (#15062425) Homepage
      So they don't close their minds, as fast as their average IQ counterparts. to new ideas because they have been humbled enough to realize what they know may not be always correct.

      I don't know if this is generally true, but my experience growing up was similar to what you theorize. Before grade school, some "professionals" were recommending to my parents that they put me in a special ed class and take the short yellow bus to school. Apparently, I had problems listening and communicating. They thought I had hearing problems because I often didn't respond when people talked to me. They did hearing tests on me and discovered no problem with my hearing. I also had some speech impediments. Thankfully, they decided to sit in one of the special ed classes and saw how all the other kids acted. There was no way in hell they were gonna leave me alone with those kids. I ended up being held back a year in kindergarten. I had some small issues with writing things in first grade. By the time I reached 3rd grade, my reading level was higher than most kids. By 6th grade, I had a 12th grade reading level, and I placed the highest in this standardized math test at my middle school. I skipped a grade in math starting at 8th grade. I did attain a sort of perfectionist attitude where I would get mad at myself at making mistakes, and I never really considered myself intelligent (maybe just less stupid).
      • I had some of those experiences myself. Another victim of the one-size-fits-all cookie-cutter mentality that comes with institutionalized education.
      • My son is nearly 3. While he's making a lot of recognisable noises at the moment ("Da[d]" "Mu[m]" "Na[na]" "Ga" [his sister] "Mo[re]" etc), a while ago he wouldn't open his mouth to say much of anything at all. He still gets his point across though, he's quite expressive with body language, or he'll push you in the direction of the thing he wants. He has a big sister who never shuts up, it's like having a narator in the house / car. But he's crazy about puzzles, he used to sit for hours doing one puzzle aft
    • Subject X is HARD (Score:5, Interesting)

      by ackthpt ( 218170 ) * on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @08:04PM (#15062542) Homepage Journal
      I wonder if the reason for this is that the slow starters grow up thinking they are not that smart. So they don't close their minds, ... Growing up I myself heard a lot of arguments against correct Ideas from the "Smart" students, arguments like I am the next Level class above you so your information is wrong and I am right. So they go on for the rest of their life with the wrong ideas about things while the "Slower" student goes along absorbing information and different ideas thus making their minds more agile.

      One of the greatest challenges is getting past the pervasive attitude that certain subjects are "hard" People get to believing it. Hell, it's in television, movies, comics, etc. that you have to be a "brainy nerd" like, say Jason Fox or Francis Ottoman to be able to hack certain subjects. The reality is people buy into the "for super brains only" and "[subject] is hard" and tune out. Attitude and confidence are everything when studying.

      I was about to drop a chemistry class in college because I just felt I couldn't do it. It was just too much. But I was also working a student job in the computer center and had interacted a bit with faculty and administration on a concept of "writing across the curriculum", in a nutshell, repeat in writing not what was just shoved into your brain, but what you thought of it, what it meant to you, plus any connections to any other areas it seemed to connect. It's a cognitive kickstart, which rather than focus on rote learning emphasized understanding of the concepts. Once you've got the concepts down and feel confident, you've got it made.

      I decided to be fair to myself before dropping the class and admitting failure and sat down in the commons to write out what about inorganic chemistry I did know. Turned out I did know a lot, it was just a few things I didn't know that were defeating me. Why focus energy on learning what you already know? So I focused on what I didn't know and pulled an A in the class. It was a watershed moment and after applying it to a few other classes I realized I could do it all and do it all well.

      All except that three pronger in music... ah well...

      • s/hack/grok/

        Come on, man!

      • Why focus energy on learning what you already know?

        There's a school of thought that says just the opposite (although I think it applies to adults whose ability to learn may have become reduced for various reasons). That being, you're more likely to gain ability in what you're already good at than at what you're not so good at. If you have a choice of working on X (something you're good with) or Y (something you're not), you'd have a higher "percentage" increase in your ability if you worked on X than on Y
    • by NitsujTPU ( 19263 ) on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @08:09PM (#15062569)
      I am not a psychologist, so, take what I say with a grain of salt.

      I think that intelligence is mostly nurture, beyond some minimal level of assurance that the party does not have some disorder that would prevent proper development. I don't think that that goes against evolution at all. Evolution is not an intelligent process, those who think that this is an argument against evolution are the sort who just drop evolution in as a "scientific" replacement for God. IE, evolution does what God would do, but it sounds smarter if they say evolution, rather than, evolution is entirely different from Intelligent Design, which it is.

      I also think that the American school system promotes all sorts of incorrect attitudes toward intellectual development. IE, doing well in school is probably not indicative of intelligence. Doing well in school means that you developed at about the rate that the system indicates that you should. It is indicative of certain social factors of your personality that help you to curry favor with your educators and the "smart" classmates. You probably also learn well by rote and don't mind boring repetitive tasks.

      None of these things have anything to do with intelligence, plenty of highly intelligent people fail to do well under this system. Nurture is something that feeds your intellect, not something that strokes your ego.

      So, I agree, and would in fact reinforce your argument to the degree that I am capable.
  • by Drathus ( 152223 ) * on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @07:17PM (#15062259)
    Do they know The Secret of NIMH?

    *hides*
  • by Philip K Dickhead ( 906971 ) * <folderol@fancypants.org> on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @07:17PM (#15062261) Journal
    About "first posters", versus "slow starters"?
  • by identity0 ( 77976 ) on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @07:22PM (#15062289) Journal
    Yeah, baby, it'll be higher than all the other guys', you just have to give me some time...
    • Yeah, baby, it'll be higher than all the other guys', you just have to give me some time...

      I sincerely hope you were referring to your IQ score when you said it will be higher than all the other guys'. The "yeah baby" made me picture Mike Meyers in Austin Powers. Bad visual.
      • by UserGoogol ( 623581 ) on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @10:53PM (#15063341)
        There is a literary device called a double entendre, where through the careful choice of words, a sentence is constructed with two different interpretations: a primary one which is literal and generally benign, and a secondary one which implies something a bit naughtier. The act of saying one thing but meaning the other is a practice very common in literature, politics, and (most relevantly to this particular example) joke-telling.

        Mr. Identity's particular example of a double entendre is rather interesting, in that the primary meaning of a man telling "baby" that his IQ will be higher in due time doesn't actually make much sense. Indeed, the secondary meaning, that of discussing penis size, is far more meaningful. Of course, this how double entrendres tend to work; most people write double entendres so as to deliver the ironic second meaning, and thus the primary meaning can often go undeveloped.

        That said, there is some ambiguity to the secondary meaning as well. Does the text refer to a "grower," a person whose penis size increases dramatically during arousal, or does it refer to a person who is still in the stages of penile development? The latter would fit more with the story, but the style of writing implies a slightly older person whose penis has long ago stopped growing. I think that the "grower" interpretation was closer to the author's goal, but at the same time, I doubt he cared very much. The joke was simple enough that deeper analysis is silly, and anyone who doesn't get the joke to begin with is an idiot. :)
  • Argue it both ways (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jimmyhat3939 ( 931746 ) on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @07:23PM (#15062293) Homepage
    I think you can always argue this both ways. For a long time scientists thought that the bigger the brain, the smarter the person. Come to find out there's no significant statistical correlation there.

    Also, there are so many different kinds of intelligence that an IQ test is pretty much meaningless. I've worked with plenty of people who had a very high IQ but were completely ineffective either because of psychological weirdnesses or because they couldn't focus enough to get anything done.

    • Also, there are so many different kinds of intelligence that an IQ test is pretty much meaningless.
      By itself, an IQ test is of very limited value... from a clinical perspective.

      There are a battery of tests that psychs use to evaluate specific mental processes and executive functions. An IQ isn't meaningless, but without context, it won't always be useful.
    • so many different kinds of intelligence that an IQ test is pretty much meaningless.

      One quibble -- if there is a physical attribute or pattern of development that can be correlated with a non-physical test like an IQ test, then the test is clearly measuring something, and is therefore no more "meaningless" than, say, an assessment of BMI or cholesterol levels.

      That said, if by "is meaningless" you mean "doesn't adequately predict success in life" or "doesn't measure enough", then I have no quibble at al
    • Bad Information (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Alaren ( 682568 ) on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @07:39PM (#15062404)

      "Also, there are so many different kinds of intelligence that an IQ test is pretty much meaningless. I've worked with plenty of people who had a very high IQ but were completely ineffective either because of psychological weirdnesses or because they couldn't focus enough to get anything done."

      While I too have worked with a number of very smart, completely worthless people, you can't throw out the baby with the bathwater. IQ is a test of normalization. It remains to this day the single most effective quantitative predictor of future employment status and economic success.

      Is the IQ test biased across race? Probably. Culture? Certainly. Age, gender, education level? I've heard those arguments made as well. But this is a statistical thing. The IQ test does not test your worth as a human being or demonstrate your capacity to succeed. It is not a crystal ball. It is most certainly not a good way to measure how things ought to be. What it is, is a statistical correlation between one's abilities at various ages and one's likely future status. It is not always correct, but it is correct enough to be usable in a number of situations.

      I'll say it again because it's mathematically demonstrable: IQ testing is a surprisingly accurate predictor of future status. That may be a commentary on our culture--a negative or positive commentary, depending on your particular morals and values. It is probably not a great way to evaluate individuals, but there are definitely worse ways. It is a tool which, when properly applied, can help us make important decisions.

      Just because you don't like some of the conclusions drawn from it, don't blame the data. The data is not your enemy; those who misuse the data are.

      • Re:Bad Information (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Fnkmaster ( 89084 ) on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @10:29PM (#15063226)
        Agreed that IQ is a decent indicator of future success, but I don't know that it's the best one and it's definitely not the only one.

        What about socioeconomic status? That's a pretty good one. And what about effort? Harder to quantify but somebody's dedication and work ethic seem to be more highly correlated to success than IQ to my subjective measurement. I'm guessing a combination of these factors would be a much better predictor (higher R^2) than any one of them alone.

        Anybody have any good studies on this?
      • Re:Bad Information (Score:2, Insightful)

        by sgt_doom ( 655561 )
        Gee...I guess that explains George W. Bush's success!!!!

        Seriously, though, an excellent empirical study (it was either done by Jensen or Hernstein, I think Jensen, and first published in the early '70s of the last century (soooo 20th century), established that the greatest predictor of one's success is the family they are born into, that is, their parents.

        Which would explain what's-his-face, the Bushevik in the White House.....

      • Re:Bad Information (Score:3, Interesting)

        by hackstraw ( 262471 ) *
        It remains to this day the single most effective quantitative predictor of future employment status and economic success.

        Economic status. I pretty much agree. Employment status, I disagree.

        If I were unemployed right now, it would take me 6 months+ to find a "job". "Normal" people can find a job in a day or two, max.

        I see many more ads in the paper for "normal" jobs, but for jobs that fit a level of intelligence and expertise, those are rare, and often require relocation, which costs money and are difficu
        • Re:Bad Information (Score:3, Insightful)

          by freeweed ( 309734 )
          An intelligent person is willing to adjust to some changes in life, make some sacrifices, and just about do anything to ensure they can continue to survive. A truly intelligent person is also willing to take a "normal" job, if it means paying the bills - if the alternative is to sit around moping about how unfair life is because there are no jobs suited for them.

          Whether or not this correlates to a high IQ is another matter entirely.
      • Status? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by 5n3ak3rp1mp ( 305814 )
        Describe what you mean by "future status".

        Financial? Social? Intellectual? Number of happy kids? Books published?

        There are examples of people who excel in one of these but not the others. And I assume you don't just mean "financial".

        So what do you mean by "status" and moreover, how is it not subjective?
    • Well, duh to this research... It's pretty obvious isn't it.

      Primitive brains (flies etc) are pretty much hard-wired. They don't learn a lot and are pretty much capable of 100% of full potential at birth. A fly isn't ever going anywhere special. At the other end of the spectrum is the human baby. It is almost completely helpless at birth and probably only at a percent or so if its full brain potential. The "programming" takes a long time.

      Kids that take a longer time to program are possibly forming much more c

    • Tarek on this season's Apprentice is supposed to be a genius MENSA member. His performance on the show, however, indicates he may be good at taking IQ tests, but when it comes to real life performance, people with lower IQ scores consistently outperform him.
      • "genius MENSA member"
          I don't watch the Apprentice so I don't about this Tarek, but one out of 50 people can get into Mensa.
          Seldom are geniuses interested in joining. But Mensa members are often underacheivers. I speculate that's because they don't have to work as hard to get an acceptible grade in school, and tend to get lazy as a result.

        • I think you're quite right about that. Plus, school tends to be boring if it's easy.

          I know at least 5 (former) members of Mensa (they didn't want to waste their money on membership) and probably twice as many that could probably be a member if they took the test. Personally I haven't taken their test, but I suspect I'm in the top 5 percentile.

          Common trait amongst these people? Average grades. Very average grades. Lazy about schoolwork (or were when they were in school), found it utterly boring etc.
    • Also, there are so many different kinds of intelligence that an IQ test is pretty much meaningless.

      I beg to differ. There are many different kinds of intelligence, but, as it turns out, they are rather strongly correlated. People that are good with mental rotation puzzles have on average better results on everything from memorizing numbers to writing persuasive essays. If we accept this extremely well documented phenomenon then it becomes interesting to measure this average cognitive ability, as it will
    • "Also, there are so many different kinds of intelligence that an IQ test is pretty much meaningless. I've worked with plenty of people who had a very high IQ but were completely ineffective either because of psychological weirdnesses or because they couldn't focus enough to get anything done."

      While I wouldn't go so far to say that the IQ test is meaningless, I agree that there are many different kinds of intelligence. That said, there are also a lot of people out there who aren't very bright (or at least,
    • by hackstraw ( 262471 ) * on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @11:52PM (#15063620)
      Also, there are so many different kinds of intelligence that an IQ test is pretty much meaningless.

      Very true. I've studied cognitive, behavioral, and developmental psych, and have come to the conclusion that there is no Spearman g out there.

      Good athletes are bright. Look at how they are talked about. "That was a brilliant play!" "What was he thinking?" People talk about them in terms of their cognition, not in terms of their strength or stamina. Now, I'm not saying that these are important things, but for athletes the physical thing is almost even. Its the cognition that is different. Otherwise, why would they need to practice? Just lift weights or do whatever.

      I'm not trying to toot my horn, but I was a very slow starter. It took me 2 colleges (one, another, and back to the first) and about 8 years to get a college degree from a mediocre college, but I'm not a dummy. Again, I don't fully subscribe to the Spearman g thing, but I've taken IQ tests and have scored up to 140, but have had numerous issues over the years, and many people think I'm "dumb", kinda like the absent minded professor thing, I guess.

      I also have a severe mental illness, and my cognitive abilities and personality vary from time to time. I also have substance abuse issues. I "self medicate", which I have no problem with, it helps me. Much better than a doctor can, but it does impair my cognition from time to time. I've heard that people that stop doing drugs gain on average about 10 IQ points after some period of time.

      Honestly, I see the world a little bit differently than "normal" people. I've smoked cigarettes since I was a kid, and when I was 16 and I would see a pile of cigarettes in a pile in a parking lot, I thought that the people would sit there and smoke that many cigarettes at a time and make a pile. Only later did I figure out that the people dumped their ashtray in the parking lot. I guess that since I see the world as doing extreme and weird things like I do, that "normal" things like littering appear as abnormal to me. So, I think about the situation more. I also was a master knot tier when I was 11. I could tie any knot known in record speed. It took me until about 28 or 29 to figure out that a square knot was the best way to tie a shoe. I also had issues with my 5th grade teacher calling my house because my shoes would not stay tied, but did not comment on the A+ papers I wrote.

      The world is set up for average people. Yeah, it may take a while for above average people to come out of the woodwork, but majority (aka, mediocrity) rules. If you want special accommodations in the US, be handicapped. You get whatever you "need" with no questions asked. But if your bright, you're on you're own. I was homeless a few years ago, and I called government services, and there was no help for able people that were temporarily out of luck. In retrospect, I did not need the help, but I thought it would be nice to have it, and assumed that there were housing or financial help for someone like me, but I was not fucked up enough.

      Also, as many, if not most, of slashdotters know, that IQ has nothing to do with anything. It has its advantages and disadvantages. I purposely have to dumb down myself, and just "shoot the shit" to get along with people. Its OK, but I'm lonely much of the time because I know that most people simply have no idea what I know. I've met a couple of people here on slashdot that post almost exactly like I do, and think almost the same way. Multiple times, I have come across a user that I wanted to add as a friend, and realized that they already were, and once seeing their username, I remembered them.

      I'm tired and drunk right now. Later.

  • by MikeFM ( 12491 ) on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @07:29PM (#15062328) Homepage Journal
    And here I was worried that by 30 I hadn't became a genius yet. Nice to know that with this delay I'm sure to be the worlds biggest supper genius when my time comes! Bwahahaha.
  • Ummm i dont understand..

    ( yes its a joke, laugh and get over it )
  • All my life I wantid to be smart and not dumb and my mom always tolld me to try and lern just like Miss Kinnian tells me but its very hard to be smart and even when I lern something in Miss Kinnians class at the school I ferget alot.
    • Rockin reference. I loved that story and read it in an old sci-fi anthology.
    • Hello Everyone!

      Please forgive the intrusion; I will be as brief as possible. I know you're all good friends of Audent here at Slash Dot, and I wanted to let you be the first to know that Audent has received a very special opportunity with our research group at NIMH Outreach [nih.gov]. The study is perfectly safe, and Audent will be back with you in no time at all! Once he is, you might notice some very small changes, but rest assured that these will all be for the better. I know you will be very happy with Auden's
  • by TechnoGuyRob ( 926031 ) on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @07:31PM (#15062351) Homepage
    This is a very probable conclusion. After all, it has been illustrated countless of times before in history. For example, take Isaac Newton, someone who could be consider the founder of classical physics. Newton did not excel in his studies in comparison to others; only when he reached the age of 21 did he develop his brilliant ideas and observations in utter seclusions. Now take Albert Einstein. Einstein was born in 1879. The school system did not treat him as anything special. He went with the other neigborhood children to a regular, average school. Furthermore, at the age of 16, he applied to the Swiss Institute of Physics but got rejected, and he failed to graduate from his subsequent enrollment at Zurich University.

    In all honesty, take a look at "child geniuses" that prospered early on. We hear every once in a while about a kid that starts college at the age of 8, or 10; and that's the last time we hear about them. It is the people that consistently produce significant progress that "show".

    One subject that seems to be an exception to this rule is the arts. For example, Mozart--and many other great musicians--were fluent in their art form very early on. But, I think that it very well might be that those "early bloomers" might not be all they're made out to be.
    • by Alaren ( 682568 ) on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @07:43PM (#15062429)

      We need to mod down the article title and summary somehow. This is ridiculous.

      See my comments here [slashdot.org]. This article is not saying that slow children grow up to be smarter adults! The article is discussing a slow-start, quick-mature cortex. The slowness here is biological, not intellectual.

    • Mozart was a natural to music. It flowed from him. Musical imagery was powerful within him. Yet Beethoven had less of these abilities.. he had to keep pen and paper around so he wouldn't forget an idea, and his manuscripts are so messy with revisions as to wear holes through the parchment. Yet, Beethoven is considered the better composer. Beethoven built musical structures of such enormity and passion. Composition is more than quickness, memory and fluidity. It is depth. It is temperment. It is a str
  • From the Wikipedia entry (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neoteny [wikipedia.org]) for neoteny:

    "Neoteny describes a process by which paedomorphism is achieved, and is a subject studied in the field of developmental biology. In neoteny, the physiological (or somatic) development of an animal or organism is slowed or delayed. Ultimately this process results in the retention, in the adults of a species, of juvenile physical characteristics well into maturity."

    The notion that longer-lived, highly intelligent, highly social specie
  • by Quaoar ( 614366 ) on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @07:32PM (#15062363)
    ...why the first posts are often the dumbest :)
  • I tried sooooo hard to think of some witty comment to make about Dr. Shaw being the Secret of NIMH, but it just wasn't working. I guess I'm not so nimble...
  • by javaxman ( 705658 ) on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @07:37PM (#15062391) Journal
    Slower thickening of the cortext != slow starters. Actually, it's not even slower thickening... it's that it gets thicker, takes longer to thin...

    Where the heck in this article would you get that it's "slow starters" ?

    Now, there may be something about the somewhat different early development of the brain for these smarter kids with the thicker, later-maturing cortexes, and how that changes their early behavior compared to others, but TFA ( and the study ) didn't cover that, now, did they ?

    Damn crappy wrong article summaries like this make me mad... somewhat at the submitters, but mostly at the admins. Thanks for actually reading and interpreting ( incorrectly ) the article, ScuttleMonkey !

    • Slower thickening of the cortext != slow starters. Actually, it's not even slower thickening...

      Actually, the summary says "tend to have a slow start in the development of their cortex" which is true from the article. If you look at the only figure in the article you will see that the blue line (superiorly intelligent children) has a start of thickening and peak thickining significantly delayed from their peers.

      it's that it gets thicker,

      You will also note that the peak value for the blue line does
  • by Chemisor ( 97276 ) on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @07:40PM (#15062407)
    My guess would be that the thickness difference would be mostly in the interconnections between neurons. An intelligent person would be able to form abstractions faster and to thereby reduce the number of connections. A person with less intelligence would have more connections because he is not thinking about stuff, he is just absorbing it, so all that redundant connectivity piles up and thickens the cortex. It would probably also make thinking harder; with too many associations any search would produce a mind-boggling amount of data.
  • by TechnoGuyRob ( 926031 ) on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @07:41PM (#15062418) Homepage
    I am one of those slow starter people. For example, I am going to think of something very contributive and helpful to add to this Slashdot discussion. It is going to happen, it's just going to take me a while. So mod me up ahead of time for my potential wisdom.
  • this suggests that fast starters have lower IQ. Or are they not mutually exclusive? Logic police!
  • Every taxi driver, waiter, flight attendant and plumber I ever met tried to convince that they were brilliant! Maybe I should not have been a sceptic? I have learned to sit back and enjoy that cab ride from JFK into downtown, if only because I know the driver is going to teach me the meaning of life before we reach my hotel. If you want to learn politics, hot stocks, fashion trends, foreign policy, and what is going to happen on the next episode of '24', do yourself a favor and skip the limo and take that
  • by Anthony Boyd ( 242971 ) on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @07:57PM (#15062504) Homepage
    These children have a 'delayed but prolonged' spurt that causes their cortex thickness to peak later than their peers and thin much quicker.

    I would give anything to have a "delayed but prolonged spurt."

  • I find it ironic that the article was summarized completely incorrectly, but only in a way that reinforces the thinking of the people most likely to interpret the article incorrectly.

    "Read the article? Bah...I'm smart enough to skip that step...after all, that's why the teachers never liked me!"
  • There's actually a NIMH???
  • Plenty of exceptions (Score:4, Informative)

    by Mr_Tulip ( 639140 ) on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @08:22PM (#15062621) Homepage
    Before people start claiming to be geniuses because they failed math at high school, there are many exceptions to this ieda, take for instance Stephen Hawking, [wikipedia.org], Stephen Wolfram [wikipedia.org] or Mozart [wikipedia.org]

    All three were highly talented in their fields at a very early age.

    I'm sure I could find plenty more examples given time.

  • by davidc ( 91400 ) <cdpuff@gmailRABBIT.com minus herbivore> on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @08:23PM (#15062628)
    ... tend to be quick finishers.

    /should try novocaine gel.
  • I must eventually be a super genius!
    some day... !
  • Last post, dumbasses.
  • Mario Kart (Score:3, Funny)

    by Databass ( 254179 ) on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @09:03PM (#15062805)
    Similarly, in Mario Kart, Bowser and Donkey Kong, (and lately Wario), have the slowest accelerations, but achieve the highest top speeds!
  • Does this also have implications for first posts?
  • by g1zmo ( 315166 )
    Not In My Head?
  • by Cranky Weasel ( 946893 ) on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @10:12PM (#15063118) Homepage
    "Science Daily is reporting that children with 'superior' IQ's tend to have a slow start in the development of their cortex."

    "Slow Starters Have Higher IQ?"

    Now I would expect that a person submitting a story to a relatively technical place like slashdot would have just a hint of logical thinking ability.

    Don't tell me that slow starters have higher IQ's - that doesn't follow. It's just flat out wrong here.

    Tell me that a small number of people who are slow starters go on to have higher IQ's. The vast majority of slow starters simply remain slow, and their IQ never rises to brainy heights.

    The summary was defective in the first place, as lots people have noted above, but it was defective within its own assumptions after that.
  • Similar Experience? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by stuffman64 ( 208233 ) <stuffman AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @10:44PM (#15063302) Homepage
    I'd have to say my life follows this hypothesis fairly well. When I was three years old, I was barely speaking more than one word utterances. The doctors told my mom I would probably turn out OK, and she shouldn't worry too much. By the time I was in kindergarten, I had my first IQ test (Pennsylvania does this to place "superior" students in gifted programs, and "deficient" students in a remedial education program). I scored around a 105, just above average and I took all the regular classes like all of the other "regular" students. In state testing in second grade, I scored in the 99th percentile overall; higher than any other kid in my grade, including the "gifted" ones. Because of this, it was suggested that I be tested yet again. This time, I made a dramatic improvement, to two and a half standard deviations above average (I don't like to say scores, because, in essence they mean nothing more than how well I was able to do on a certain test on a certain day). This was more than enough to put me in the gifted program, so I'd get the perk of getting out of 'regular' class one day a week and doing what they considered "smart kid stuff" and I got to go on a bunch of field trips. Why being intelligent should earn some kids these special priveledges over other kids is beyond me.

    I eventually started college and realized I had no idea how to learn stuff. High school was easy for me; all I'd have to do is show up and I'd get an "A." Soon I was depressed (more so than normal- I've suffered depression my whole life) and stopped going to classes altogether. When I finally got my act together, I went to a neurologist to figure out why I'm having such a difficulty in learning. I had yet another IQ test, in addition to all these other tests. Amazingly, my IQ went up another whole standard deviation- even though my reading comprehension and auditory memory subtests were actually considered low enough as for me to have a disability under the ADA (how it works is if you are more than 1.5 standard deviation below your test average, you are considered to have a disability in that area- the part I have a hard time accepting is that I still scored above the 90th percentile in both of these tests). My neurologist was very intrigued about how my scores have been improving considering how I got off to such a slow start.

    I'm very blessed to have a one-in-10,000 IQ, but it comes with it's caveats. I still struggle to learn information I'm not interested in, I've suffered from pretty severe depression most of my life, and I almost never see a project of mine to completion- my mind just wanders too much. I've gotten a little off-topic here, but I'd be interested to see if my cortex withers more rapidly as I age as illustrated in the article.
    • Sounds familiar.

      Although I was an 'average' developer until two or three, then I too rocketed up the chain.
      Did the talented and gifted classes, even participated in a gov't sponsored learning program in my state to see how children with 'high' IQs learned vs 'ordanary' children.

      I too excell at whatever I point my mind at, and have a 'people whisper about it when they find out' IQ.

      And on the flip side, I also suffer through bouts of depression, and even worse, temper. Through out my life I have had issues bo
  • ADD related? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Frangible ( 881728 ) on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @10:44PM (#15063303)
    I had very late development and have a high IQ (way over their "superior" range heh), but also have ADD which is a dysfunction of the prefrontal cortex, which made me a spaced-out zombie for 26 years until I got medication for it.

    Interestingly, it seems at least one study [nih.gov] suggests people with ADD get "stuck" in a phase of cortical development, possibly delaying later development.

    As ADD seems correlated with the dopamine transporter density and genes that increase the number of DATs, perhaps lower extracellular dopamine levels result in slower cortical development and ADD represents an extreme manifestation of an "agile" cortex-- sometimes perhaps a bit too agile for its own good.

    IIRC, task persistance and switching tasks is controlled by the temporal lobes, not the PFC, and while that ties in with the PFC's executive control, I think the definition of "agile" they use in this study might apply to a different region of the brain entirely.

  • WTF? Is this some kind of Ruby on Rails tie in?

    I kid, I kid!
  • by drDugan ( 219551 ) on Wednesday April 05, 2006 @12:56AM (#15063885) Homepage
    IQ as a measure of ability is reductive and almost useless. People are good at different things, and many many skills are not measured by "IQ" that are highly correlated with success in the world. Leadership, confidence, self-image, creativity, organizing the external world, etc. etc. etc. Jung and other have made extremely good models that provide better measures for people's abilities and skills.
  • by master_p ( 608214 ) on Wednesday April 05, 2006 @06:06AM (#15064772)
    Here is a revolutionary concept for y'all: there is no such thing as IQ. People that seem to be less clever simply have a more clouded 'brain', mainly to psychological discrepancies. I would accept that people with "higher IQ" were really smarter if they could "survive" in situations that "lower IQ" people survive from. It requires real cleverness to survive in certain difficult to live places, but noone acknowledges that fact.

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