Babies With Big Heads Are More Intelligent, According To Science

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Baby with large headPexels

Good news for the five-heads and the melon tops. Turns out, big headed babies are more intelligent.

Now you can hold your head up high (if your neck can take the weight) with the knowledge your big head holds the secret to your inevitable dizzying success.


Researchers have suggested babies born with large noggins are more intelligent, and have a greater chance of becoming educated and living a successful life.

Extensive research done by proper scientists at the charity UK Biobank has revealed a direct correlation between brain volume, head circumference and levels of intelligence, as measured by verbal-numerical reasoning testing.

In other words, listen up parents, the bigger the head the brighter the baby. The evidence is reportedly so accurate, it can even predict whether a child is likely to go to university.

UK Biobank monitors half a million UK residents to determine the link between their genes, their physical and mental health, and the direction their life will take.

a photo of one of the big headed babies Pexels

For this study, researchers from the UK, Germany and the US, led by the University of Edinburgh, analysed UK Biobank data from 100,000 Brits between the ages of 37 and 73.

The resulting paper, which was published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry, concluded:

Highly significant associations were observed between the cognitive test scores in the UK Biobank sample and many polygenic profile scores, including […]intracranial volume, infant head circumference and childhood cognitive ability.


Professor Ian Deary, Director of the Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Cognitive Epidemiology (CCACE) at Edinburgh University, told Neuroscience News cognition might also be influenced by body shape.

He said:

In addition to there being shared genetic influences between cognitive skills and some physical and mental health states, the study also found that cognitive skills share genetic influences with brain size, body shape and educational attainments.

Researcher Dr Sarah Harris also said the research ‘highlights the importance of investigating biological pathways’ which can ‘influence both cognitive function and health related traits’.


Over half a million samples were used from previous studies. Samples include blood, urine, saliva and details of their lifestyle choices and general health.

Participants had been examined in various ways, with researchers testing factors including their verbal and numerical reasoning skills, reaction time (RT), memory and educational attainment.

While it all sounds like something out of 1984, UK Biobank claims, ‘Over many years this will build into a powerful resource to help scientists discover why some people develop particular diseases and others do not.’

photos of big headed babiesPexels

Its aim is to document the long term links between genes, physical and mental health and well-being. Specifically, UK Biobank hopes to discover how DNA impacts on cognitive brain function.

In the study, researchers said they considered heads with a circumference of 31.75cm to 35.56cm to be smarter.

The average newborn head size is 36cm for boys, and 35cm for girls, an average of 34.29cm, according to Parents magazine, rendering most of us total child geniuses, apparently.

Time to dig the tape measure out and see for yourself.

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Topics: Health


Molecular Psychology and 2 others
  1. Molecular Psychology

    Shared genetic aetiology between cognitive functions and physical and mental health in UK Biobank (N=112 151) and 24 GWAS consortia

  2. Parents Magazine

    Charting Baby's Growth

  3. Neuroscience News

    Mapping the Brain’s Aging Connections

Francesca Donovan
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