It is time to put importance to your children's obsession with the dinosaur as it turns out those who are fascinated by the fossil more than others, actually have a higher level of intelligence.
Great news for all the paleontologists out there! If your child/ children have an obsession with dinosaurs, then do not worry, in fact, you should be thrilled. This typical interest has been said to be an intense one, and it also says that it will drive a child’s learning as well as help foster lifelong curiosity, reported CNN. It is a pretty common phenomenon that many parents are familiar with as most of the children are obsessed with one thing or the other.
Some children refuse to leave home without their favorite toy, others scream bloody murder if they don't wear the shoes they love every time they go outside, then there are those children who are completely obsessed with dinosaurs. These children have decided to completely devote their time to learning more and more about the fossilized creatures and want to read nothing but books about princesses or airplanes.
It is also common to see parents worrying about their child's obsession and they might even think it is a little unhealthy. What might surprise the parents is that scientific research suggests that it’s actually a positive thing. About one-third of children have an intense interest in certain things. And the best part is, your children can benefit a great lot from their obsessions.
The benefits could include an increased ability to learn, greater persistence, a heightened attention span and, unsurprisingly, a deeper knowledge of the subject itself, even if the pterodactyl has been dead for many million years now. In fact, the research also suggests that above-average intelligence is not unusual for kids who are in love with dinosaurs, or any subject that generates a strong sense of interest for that matter.
Children can learn about their favorite topic through books, videos, and toys, and they are also motivated to pursue their passion. Additionally, they also ask a number of questions that help them to understand the world around them, which, in the long run, helps them to learn.
In fact, scientists also believe that passionate interests can even allow people to overcome academic difficulties or perceptual disabilities. One study found out that students who scored poorly on academic tests but had well-developed interests in reading or mathematics were more likely to engage and ask the meaning of the textual meaning of the passages or math problems than their peers who had high scores but no such interests.
Another study showed that prominent academics and Nobel Laureates who struggled with dyslexia found that they were able to continue with their efforts to continue with their work because they were motivated to explore an early and ardent interest.
It also acts as a confidence booster, because the study also suggested that children with intense interests end up knowing more about their subject than their parents. The research that was conducted found that boys are more likely to have an intense interest in topics such as paleontology, rather than girls.
This difference could be boiled down to gender differences as boys are known to like to systemize, which basically means that they prefer to focus their attention span on a narrow subject where they try to understand and organize it the best they can.
Likewise, it could also be because the parents, knowingly or unknowingly present their children with toys that are more suited to their genders. In addition, the marketing of toys and other children’s products could lead boys and girls to gravitate towards different interests.
A 2007 study found that most obsessions come to an end when school starts. This could partly happen because children don’t have time to follow up on their interests and also because once they start school, they are exposed to lots of new things at school.
So why the obsession with a dinosaur being pointed out as the focus of the study? According to KQED News, "When we’re interested in what we’re learning, we pay closer attention; we process the information more efficiently; we employ more effective learning strategies."
This is exactly why the boys and girls who are enamored with the idea of dinosaurs can remember the names of the gigantic fossilized creatures. Additionally, they find them incredibly interesting which makes them want to seek out new information about the prehistoric creatures.
They want to what the dinosaurs ate, how it sounded, and how each of the creatures looked different from their counterparts. Any parent, who has a child obsessed with dinos would know how their children love to correct them when they generalize every dinosaur, just by calling them a dinosaur. Researchers have found again and again that when a child is excited by something, like dinosaurs, their attention span is better, they learn better, and they often have above-average intelligence.
Apart from that, there is also an added social pressure that especially crops up when they start mixing with other children who do not share the same interest. Judy DeLoache, a professor of psychology at the University of Virginia said, "In some cases, [an intense interest] is just enjoyable. It's [just] something they like. It's perfectly normal. There isn't anything weird about it."