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  • What if you didn’t speak before the age of three, but could play Mozart on the Piano?

  • Well, you might just be a child prodigy.

  • Hey, guys. Julia here for DNews.

  • There’s not any good figures for how many child prodigies there are in the world, but we do know there are enough for plenty of reality shows to be made about child prodigies.

  • These unique children possess remarkable abilities, in fields like art, music, or math and most possess incredible memories.

  • These abilities at a young age almost seem unnatural, which is actually where the word prodigy comes from.

  • Seriously. Andrew Solomon, psychology writer, says the word prodigy, comes from Latin for omen, where a “monster that violates the natural order.”

  • Now, to define what a prodigy is, we can look to a couple of different sources.

  • Some psychologists consider a prodigy to be anyone under 10 with remarkable abilities in a specific area.

  • Some are even considered geniuses.

  • According to Lewis Terman, who created the IQ concept, the average IQ is about 100.

  • Any score over 110 is considered superior intelligence and anything over 140 is genius.

  • Many kids who are considered math prodigies have IQs ranging from 134-147, and music prodigies have IQs of around 108-142, way over what MENSA reports as average.

  • I know, I know, we could debate the merits of IQ, but that’s a whole other episode.

  • The thing is the link between IQ and prodigy is hard to pin down. The science of prodigies is hard to pin down.

  • There’s not a lot of great research into why some children are born with remarkable talents.

  • One small study of five families, published in the journal Human Heredity shows there might be a link between prodigy and autism.

  • Lead researcher, Assistant Professor of Psychology at Ohio State University, Joanne Ruthsatz, believes this link might have to do with the way memory is stored in the brain.

  • Typically, we have two places to store memory in our brain. The hippocampus and the prefrontal cortex.

  • The hippocampus stores long term memories, like facts, dates, names, that sort of thing.

  • But the prefrontal cortex stores things like riding a bike, tying your shoes, basically muscle memory.

  • According to Ruthsatz’s research, prodigies and some people with autism, use the prefrontal cortex to store those long term memories.

  • So remembering facts, dates, even a piece of music is literally like riding a bike for them, it’s in their muscle memory.

  • This is what she believes makes a child prodigy.

  • So what happens to all these child prodigies when they grow up?

  • Well, theyre still there, we just don’t hear about them because, while they might be excelling or at the top of their field in say medicine or computers, that doesn’t make them stand out like a 3 year old playing Mozart.

  • As psychologist Ellen Winner told the New York Times, "only a fraction of gifted children eventually become revolutionary adult creators".

  • And the reason behind former child prodigies fading into professionally successful obscurity or becoming adult creators, might be thanks to their parents.

  • Or to be specific, they have too many rules, according to a study published in The Journal of Creative Behavior that looked at highly creative adolescents.

  • The study looked at the top 5% of creative kids in a school district and compared their parent’s rule style to the parenting style of less creative kids.

  • The authors found that average kids had about 6 rules, while creative kids had less than one!

  • So if a child prodigy has parents that set a lot of rules, it will stifle their creativity and prevent them from becoming genius "adult creators."

  • Theyll grow up following rules and become the best doctor they can be, but won’t break out to once again stand out like they did as a child.

  • Following rules is helpful if you want to play Mozart in Carnegie hall before the age of ten, but it doesn’t help you become Mozart.

  • For that, you need passion and the freedom to explore that passion.

  • And of course, plain old practice.

  • So color outside the lines! It just might make you a genius. In fact, one study showed that drawing can indicate genius.

  • Trace and Tara have the smart scoop in this episode, right here.

  • So they had children do this drawing test, and then they tested their intelligence level at age 4, and then again at age 14.

  • Turns out the kids who had higher scores on their drawing at age 4, were also found to be more intelligent.

  • So were you a kid genius? Tell me your story down in the comments below.

  • Don't forget to hit those like and subscribe buttons and keep coming back to DNews. We've got new episodes every day of the week.

What if you didn’t speak before the age of three, but could play Mozart on the Piano?

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