Growing up in a chaotic home could be bad for a child’s developing mind, possibly even restricting their intellectual progress, according to new research by child psychologists.
A relationship between disorganised, noisy and cramped homes and lower childhood intelligence has already been observed.
However, researchers have never been able to identify clearly whether the cause is down to socioeconomic status, genetics or the environment.
Now, by re-examining a database of twins born in the UK between 1994 and 1996, Dr Stephen Petrill and colleagues at Pennsylvania State University believe they may have ruled out the influence of being raised in a wealthy environment.
By noting the difference between genetically identical twins, and fraternal twins, who share only half their genes, the researchers hoped to separate out the influence of genes and environment.
The team collected information about nearly 8,000 twins aged three and four, including their family’s socioeconomic status, the level of chaos in their home and their mental abilities, which they measured with quizzes and vocabulary and grammar tests.
Results showed that the homes of wealthier and better-educated parents were slightly more organised.