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Your childhood best friend’s intelligence probably rubbed off on you

13 February 2018

Picture yourself aged 11: who was your best friend and how smart were they?

The answer may have shaped your life more than you think. A new study published as a pre-print at PsyArXiv reports that participants’ IQ at age 15 was correlated with the IQ of whomever was their best friend years earlier, when that friend was aged 11, even after factoring out the participants’ own earlier intelligence, as well as a host of other potentially confounding variables.

We already know, thanks to previous research, that our school-age peers shape our personalities, our powers of self-control, and the chances that we’ll get into trouble, so it’s to be expected that they also affect our intelligence (and we theirs).

Surprisingly, however, this possibility had not been studied before now. “Our findings add … another layer of evidence for the important and pervasive influence of peers on a host of traits during adolescence,” the researchers said.

Read more on our Research Digest blog.

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