|Are Winter Babies Smarter Than Summer Babies?|
|Escrito por Carlos Simões|
|Terça, 29 Novembro 2011 21:53|
Could your birthdate affect the rest of your life? Several studies suggest key neural differences between babies born in the summer and winter seasons. A 2006 study published in Schizophrenia Research found that winter babies (born in winter and spring) were on average both bigger and brighter than their summer (born in summer and fall) counterparts. The study, led by Harvard University scientists in collaboration with Queensland University researchers from Australia, followed the development of 21,000 children from birth to 7 years of age. Children in the study were given a series of mental and motor tests at birth, at 8 months, at 4 years, and at 7 years of age. By the 7 year mark, winter children emerged, on average, 210 grams heavier, 0.19 cm taller, and higher scoring on intelligence exercises than summer children.
The 2006 study wasn't the final word on the subject, however. In a separate study published in the journal Nature Neuroscience in 2010, Vanderbilt University researchers found that mice exposed to different amounts of light at birth coped differently with changes later in life. One group of newborn mice experienced summer-like light conditions (16 hours of light and 8 hours of darkness) while the second group experienced winter-like light conditions (8 hours of light and 16 hours of darkness). The mice then maintained either the same or opposite cycles for 28 days. Once mature, both groups were plunged into darkness. The "summer" mice kept to a daily routine even in the dark, while their "winter" counterparts struggled. While it's unclear how well these results translate to human populations, the "winter" and "summer" mice were found to have distinctly different biological clocks. The Vanderbilt study suggests that seasonal light exposure after birth could be linked to emotional regulation later in life-think humans with seasonal effective disorder, for example.
Still other studies on the topic of birth season and behavior have linked, among other things, more food allergies to fall birthdates, higher rates of anorexia to spring birthdates, and increased chances of schizophrenia to summer birthdates (with possible roots in the biological clock that the Vanderbilt study points to). Optimism, diets, athleticism-all have possible links to birthdate.What to make of all these findings? Are those with winter birthdays smarter or healthier than those with summer ones-or vice versa? We decided to look at Lumosity's own database of human cognition for guidance.
After examining results from 12,259 members who played the popular free game Memory Matrix, we found no statistically significant performance differences between members born in the four different seasons. We used only US members' gameplay data to insure that all birthdates corresponded to the same seasons. Here's a graphical representation of the data below:
So the real answer about which birth season is "better" remains unclear. As to the question of why birth season produces variations, scientists have suggested that anything from seasonal variations in Vitamin D (which we derive from sunlight), nutrients from seasonal foods, the amount of pollen in the air, the amount of exposure to pesticides (dependent on local crops), the weather, and affects on biological clocks may play a part in making our birthdates shape our adult lives.