Tyrannosaurus Rex, Velociraptor, Brachiosaurus, Iguanodon, Protoceratops, Gallimimo, Spinosaurus, Parasaurolofus… Do these names sound like they come from another planet but does your child know them in detail? Congratulations! It is proven that children who love dinosaurs are more intelligent.
The way some topics captivate children is extraordinary. It doesn’t just happen with dinosaurs; some little ones are fans of cars, insects, flowers, or stars.
According to a study conducted by Indiana University and the University of Wisconsin, this dynamic behavior is highly productive and known as intense interests.
About dinosaurs and other intense interests
The overwhelming like for specific topics arouses children’s curiosity and makes them want to learn authentically. By themselves, without pressure, they begin to investigate, analyze and explore what arouses their interest.
That fascination, for example, with dinosaurs, makes them learn all the names of the different species. They can explain their characteristics, habitat, and survival methods, whether they are herbivores, carnivores, or the period to which they belong.
The knowledge and retention they achieve of the information they like are very high. Children with intense interests are always looking for more data to incorporate into their personal files, enhancing their ability to memorize, pay attention to details, and break down explanations. In short, a child obsessed with dinosaurs, or any other subject, becomes more intelligent.
The intense interest in childhood usually runs from two to eight years of age, but it could last decades or even a lifetime if well cultivated. The best thing is that children absorb knowledge without realizing it; they do it in an entertaining, dynamic, straightforward way, as all learning should be.
Benefits of the dinosaur obsession
Kelly Chen, a psychiatrist at Johns Hopkins University in the United States, indicates that children who have intense interests tend to be more open and secure, with better cognitive development and self-esteem since their hobby helps them increase their confidence.
Chen, also a therapist, indicates that only a third of the child population generates some interest or fascination in something. The subjects that cause the most curiosity in children are cars, planes, and trains, but the passion for dinosaurs most helps stimulate the brain and cognitive functions.
Other benefits include:
- Children become persistent and learn to focus their effort on a goal.
- They develop a greater attention span.
- Information processing skills are deepened.
- They stimulate complex thinking skills.
- They learn better and become smarter.
- They acquire new cultural and scientific knowledge.
- Their cognitive and memory capacity is enhanced.
- They increase the level of vocabulary.
- They increase confidence, motivation, and interest in exploration.
- The study suggests that the way children study dinosaurs (or the subject of their interest) helps them develop strategies to deal with problems throughout their lives.
The boy who corrected a museum
The specialization of children in their subject is so great that they can even become experts, and some are capable of correcting even adults or even museums. That was precisely the case of a little boy who discovered a mistake in the classification of dinosaurs at the Natural History Museum in London.
His parents had taken him on a city tour and the boy, after reading the classification labels of the dinosaurs, found that there was one that was not correct. One specimen had been classified as an Oviraptor (egg thief) when in fact, it was a Protoceratops (first face with horns).
His parents reported the error to the supervisors. At first, they did not believe him, but they contacted them to thank them for the help after a few days because the boy was correct. Amazing!
The paleontologist Kenneth Lacovara, who in 2005 discovered a giant herbivorous dinosaur in southern Patagonia, which he named Dreadnoughtus, was a child with intense interest that lasted into adulthood. This is how he explains his passion,
“I think that for many these kids, it’s their first experience of mastering a subject, of being an expert in something and mastering something that their parents, their coaches, or their doctors don’t know. It makes them feel powerful. Their dads can name three or four dinosaurs, and they can name 20, so they seem like a real authority”.
Most of the time, intense interests last through childhood and fade away. As long as that taste lasts, it helps them a lot, so if you have a child who is fond of dinosaurs, excellent, he has a high probability of being more intelligent than average.
Translated by: Ligia M. Oliver Manrique de Lara
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