Well+Good

When it comes to intelligence, research shows you probably *did* get it from your mama

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You might have your dad’s smile, sense of humor, and athleticism, but when it comes to your smarts, that’s probably from your mama. According to psychologist Jennifer Delgado Suárez’s post on Psychology Spot, past research shows intelligence comes from the X chromosomes. And unfortunately for your pops, he only has one of them (XY) while women have two (XX), making it twice as likely that all brains come from the maternal side of your genetic makeup.

“Several studies revealed that children are more likely to inherit intelligence from the mother, because intelligence genes are located on chromosome X.” —Jennifer Delgado Suárez, psychologist

“We know that intelligence has an hereditary component, but until a few years ago we thought that much of it depended on the father as well as on the mother,” Suárez wrote. “However, several studies revealed that children are more likely to inherit intelligence from the mother, because intelligence genes are located on chromosome X.”

A mother’s genetics isn’t the only thing that plays a role in intelligence, though. Suárez said physical and emotional contact from the mother is important, too.

 “When [mothers] adequately gratified their [children’s] intellectual and emotional needs, at age 13 the hippocampus of the kids was 10 percent greater than that of children of mothers who were emotionally distant.” —Suárez

“Researchers at the University of Washington revealed for the first time that a secure bond and the love of the mother are crucial for the growth of some parts of the brain,” she wrote. “When [mothers] adequately gratified their [children’s] intellectual and emotional needs, at age 13 the hippocampus of the kids was 10 percent greater than that of children of mothers who were emotionally distant.”

So, the next time you ace an exam, put together a stellar work presentation, or win at trivia night, give your mom a call and say thank you. Her brains and love were clearly a winning combo for you.

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