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Want to know how to raise your child’s IQ? As it turns out, there are actually scientifically validated ways to raise the intelligence of a child, according to a new study just published in the academic journal Perspectives on Psychological Science. In it, John Protzko of the NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development reported that including fish oil supplements in a child’s diet, frequently participating in interactive reading, and admission in a quality preschool can actually raise a child’s IQ.

Protzko analyzed samples of children within the Database of Raising Intelligence, which he helped to create:

Our aim in creating this database is to learn what works and what doesn’t work to raise people’s intelligence,” says Protzko. “For too long, findings have been disconnected and scattered throughout a wide variety of journals. The broad consensus about what works is founded only on two or three very high-profile studies.

While the team acknowledged that there was still much to be learned and research in the way of what can effectively ameliorate the intelligence of peoples at all ages, the meta-analysis they conducted did lead them to say that specific dietary practices and exposure to certain environmental factors can certainly raise IQ.

So what can raise your child’s IQ?

One of the immediately actionable findings the study had was that by supplementing long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids such as fish oils and other Omega-3 dense foods could increase IQ by as much as 3.5 points. This was attributable to the fact that these fatty acids help in nerve cell development that the body can not match on its own.

Additionally, it was shown that enrolling children (specifically those who are financially disadvantaged) in preschool could raise IQ by an additional 4 points. This ‘educational intervention’ is theorized to act as a sort of cognitive stimulation that challenges a child’s mind, but the exact underlying mechanism still requires more research. Parents who engaged their children while reading to them also appears to exhibit positive effects on IQ, with children who are interactively engaged showing a increase of as much as 6 points.

What won’t raise your child’s IQ?

Protzko and his team also illuminated the fact that other types of supplements such as b-vitamins and other did not appear to immediately increase IQ, but instead demonstrated that the results were still inconclusive. Conversely, the research they conducted showed that no evidence exists to corroborate the idea that starting education earlier is much effective than starting it later, as is commonly believed.


Association for Psychological Science. (2013, January 29). “A Child’s IQ Can Be Boosted By Diet, Parental Behavior, And Preschool.” Medical News Today. Retrieved from

Protzko, John, Joshua Aronson and Clancy Blair. 2013. “How to Make a Young Child Smarter : Evidence From the Database of Raising Intelligence.” Perspectives on Psychological Science. 8(25): 25-40.


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