Hanging out with intelligent friends makes kids smarter


Children who hang out with like-minded academic achievers are smarter as it boosts their brainpower, a new study claims. Parents need to understand their children's friends have more of an impact on their attitude to study than they think, child psychologist Dr Michael Carr-Gregg said.

"You are who you hang out with. If you have an average kid and they associate with others who love learning and going to

school, that will definitely become contagious," the Daily

Telegraph quoted Carr-Gregg as saying. "Conversely, if you hang out with kids who don't value school, are disinterested and disrespectful, then you are going to have a difficult time encouraging that child to study and to be interested or be clever," said Carr-Gregg.

Carr-Gregg said academic children would even go to the extreme of pretending to be dumb in order to fit in with their friends.

"They will dumb themselves down to be accepted. It's not just a case of smart kids attract smart kids if you have an

average kid, they can be dragged down, or become smarter,

depending on who they hang out with," he said. Researchers gave 16- and 17-year-old students a list of participants and asked them to mark each as a friend, best friend, acquaintance or stranger.

The study compared the pupils' marks over the preceding 12 months with their social network and drew a strong link between friendship and the rise and fall of their academic

performance. It showed an acquaintance's success or failure had less impact than a friend's, however friends were more influential than those listed as best friends. Although parents may be able to vet their children's friends when they were younger, the chances of successfully socially engineering their social groups became harder as they grew up, Carr-Gregg said.

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