Older fathers have more intelligent, ‘geekier’ sons, study finds

YouTube video

LONDON — Many aspiring parents don’t wait too long to have kids thanks to the various studies pointing to health risks associated with older age and conception. But a new study finds that boys born to older fathers tend to be geekier — that is, show greater intelligence while worrying less about what others think of them personally.

Researchers at King’s College in London examined 15,000 twin pairs who participated in the Twins Early Development Study (TEDS) conducted at the university. They hoped to find whether paternal age at conception played a role in the “geekiness” of a father’s male offspring.

Boy reading book
A new study finds that older dads are more likely to have “geeky” sons, that is, boys who are more intelligent and don’t worry about what others think about them.

Participants in the study, all of whom were 12 years of age, were asked to complete questionnaires measuring various “geek-like” traits often associated with gifted individuals, including non-verbal IQ score, level of social aloofness, how much they worry about the way others view them, and interest in closely studying particular fields.

After external factors were controlled for, the researchers found that boys born to older fathers were generally geekier than their peers, which often manifested in better school performance, even years after the questionnaire had been taken. The finding held especially true for boys in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects.

“Our study suggests that there may be some benefits associated with having an older father,” says lead researcher Dr. Magdalena Janecka in a university press release. “We have known for a while about the negative consequences of advanced paternal age, but now we have shown that these children may also go on to have better educational and career prospects.”

One possible explanation for the researchers’ findings is that older fathers tend to be of better socioeconomic status, which enables their sons to grow up in a more enriched environment, augmented by better schooling.

The researchers hope that further research can explore the interrelatedness of variables such as increased paternal age and a geeky personality with autism.

They note that both extraordinary biological and environmental factors can result in offspring being on the spectrum, and that high IQ and autism often go hand in hand.

The study’s findings were published in the journal Translational Psychology.


  1. Did this study control for fathers siring children later in life being more likely to be above average in intelligence? If you are gifted (130+ IQ with SD of 15) you likely spent many more years in school, University, graduate and professional school(s) before having children compared to cognitively average fathers.

    1. so you are saying all older fathers are gifted ? I doubt that is the case. older fathers provide more genetic mutations than younger fathers. and the mutations are in most cases for the benefit of the child

  2. So, what age are they calling “older?” The article doesn’t specify. And, I doubt it is just the age of the father alone, but probably has a lot to do with socioeconomics of the father at that stage in life as well.

  3. Mothers under 16 also have lower IQ children according to extensive research with cultural factors eliminated in long term studies. Medicine has taught for decades that an under age girl with an infantile uterus provides less oxygen and nutrients.Books in nursing caution to expect ten times the physical and medical problems in young mothers. One study in which I participated was ignored for political reasons as were all other studies. Perhaps we should check the age of the mother with the age of the father as that may be a factor.

  4. Raising a child takes energy, alot of energy. Playing with them, running with them, playing ball with them. It has my experience that older parents don’t bother and their children spend less time playing and running, thus more time spent doing other things. All my kids are full scholarship winners, one valedictorian, all three were great athletes as well as students. Leadership can’t be taught from books. All this from a father with a high school diploma. Nothing in history changes, you only get what you put into it.

    1. Whether your diploma is from High School or harvard it really doesn’y say much about your intelligence either way. I grew up in the late forties, fifties, sixties and I spent lots of time outside, running, climbing sports, growing up in New York City. My father didn’t play with me terribly much if at all as he was forty-five when i was born… tangent tangent.
      The point is that intelligence does not correlate directly with educational level nor achievement in the world. Personal values. Responsibility, willingness to work hard, dedication to a goal don’t tend towards quantification like “IQ” but they mean as much if not more in terms of successful human outcomes.
      Congratulations to you, dad (not mine).

  5. Studies have shown that intelligence is genetic, environment plays some limited factor as does nutrition, but the majority factor is genetics. Just like some families are musically inclined, others athletic… some are intellectual.

    Not politically correct but reality doesn’t bend to progressive fantasies.

    Perhaps the result in this study is epigenetic?

Comments are closed.