WOMEN

Non-Maternal Urges Linked To Higher IQ In Controversial Study

08/10/2013 10:59 am ET
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A British researcher made waves in the blogosphere this week after his study regarding maternal urges and intelligence was shared on the Internet.

Satoshi Kanazawa, an author and researcher at the London School of Economics and Political Science, suggested that the higher a woman's IQ, the lower her desire to reproduce, according to an article published in the Daily Mail.

The numbers dovetail with recent results from Britain's Office of National Statistics concluding more women than ever are deciding to remain childless, The Telegraph notes.

Kanazawa did not respond to a Huffington Post request for comment, so the exact nature of his study cannot be independently verified. However, he made very similar assertions in his 2012 book, The Intelligence Paradox: Why the Intelligent Choice Isn't Always the Smart One.

In a chapter called "Why intelligent people are the ultimate losers in life," Kanazawa notes that "more intelligent women are significantly more likely to remain childless -- and significantly less likely to become parents -- than less intelligent women."

According to Kanazawa, the "mean childhood IQ of women who have remained childless for life is 105.3, whereas the mean childhood IQ of women who have become parents is 101.7. The difference in mean childhood IQ between the two categories of women is very large and statistically significant."

The research is by no means unassailable, however.

Kanazawa uses statistics compiled from the U.K.'s National Child Development Study and measures intelligence based on IQ. This method is not foolproof, notes blog xoJane, which cites studies showing IQ is not the ultimate measure of intelligence.

There's also the matter of a past scandal involving a very controversial Kanazawa study that suggested black women are less attractive. After a backlash, Kanazawa was fired from his position at Psychology Today.

Finally, The Guardian's Sadhbh Walshe says Kanazawa appears to be making a troubling value judgment about women who choose not reproduce.

"It seems that this research is just adding fuel to the argument that women who don't have children, regardless of the reason, are not just selfish losers but dumb ones as well," Walshe writes, citing The Intelligence Paradox. "Kanazawa finds it paradoxical that intelligent women apparently don't possess the desire to pursue what should be the ultimate goal of their biological existence."

The concerns of many women -- not to mention mothers -- may be most accurately summed up by Al Arabiya columnist Ahlya Fateh.

Staring down the Daily Mail's examples of outspokenly "childless" women, including Cameron Diaz and Eva Mendes, Fateh jokes that her two children have caused her a fair share of stress and brain-cell loss and wonders if Kanazawa would consider her "sub-human on the intelligence scale."

On a more serious note, however, Fateh recounts the recent experience of her friend becoming a mother later in life.

"I received a text while I was in New York, 'He has arrived and I am so in love with him," Fateh wrote. "This told me everything I needed to know; there is a mother in all of us, she’s just waiting to be born and it doesn’t have a thing to do with her IQ."

She does, however, point out that she has "many friends who are unmarried and have chosen not to have children and are genuinely happy with their decisions."

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