Research Says Children Inherit Intelligence From Their Mothers

Although it’s widely perceived that both parents contribute to the intelligence of their children, a recent study suggests that children inherit their intelligence from the X chromosome of their mother. Let’s see how the X and Y chromosomes work.

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X & Y Factors

Each cell of the body is composed of chromosomes — two X chromosomes in the female and one X and one Y chromosome each in the male. Chromosomes are made up of nucleic acids and protein. They store and pass on genetic information.

Genetic features can be either activated or deactivated, depending on the type of selection. Such activation or deactivation has an impact on the individual’s characteristics. So, if a single genetic feature is activated from the mother, the genetic features of the father are deactivated, or vice versa—the maternal genes are deactivated if the case is the opposite.


Since women have two X chromosomes, they are more likely to have an influence on the cognitive abilities of their children. Intelligence is a highly gender-specific feature that comes from the mother. To test this theory, scientists conducted this experiment on genetically-modified mice. The results showed that subjects administered with the maternal genetic chromosomes developed a larger brain and skull and a smaller body. The same experiment was conducted using paternal genetic features. The results clearly showed that the development of the body, in this case, was larger than the size of the brain.

Even back in 1984, the University of Cambridge conducted genetic research on brain development and the results suggested that maternal genes highly influenced the intelligence of children. A Scottish study conducted with 12, 686 people aged between 14 to 22 years revealed that the mother’s IQ is an important indicator which shapes the children’s intelligence.


Of course, in addition to the mother’s genetic inheritance, nutrition and proper nurture also affect the intelligence of children. So, there should be a balanced diet and other activities to supplement what has been inherited naturally.

What’s your take on the opinion that mothers are responsible for their children’s intelligence? Share your thoughts with us in the Comments section below. You might also like to read 6 Top Parenting Tips from Harvard Psychologists.

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