Children Who Are Spanked Have Lower IQs, New Research Finds

Full story: Science Daily

The research results will be presented Friday, Sept. 25, 2009, at the 14th International Conference on Violence, Abuse and Trauma, in San Diego, Calif.
1 - 5 of 5 Comments Last updated Sep 26, 2009

Mundelein, IL

#1 Sep 25, 2009
WHAT...A...LIE!!! Each child is different. Kids who don't listen to their parents, their teachers, have no self-control and despise authority of any kind have low IQ's. This simple-minded liberal article only perpetuates dysfunctional behavior within the homes which is designed to instill such parental failure that the federal government would use it to justify taking over the parents role in the homes. This is socialist social-engineering propaganda.

It's no wonder that when parents believed this lie in the 1970's, the crime rates shot up in America along with the incarcerations in prison.

Doubt Atheism


Since: Jun 09

The South

#2 Sep 25, 2009
It's a little premature and short sighted to call these findings a lie just because you want to believe something different. If they are lying no one will be able to replicate their work (and it will end their careers).

I'm more concerned with whether they controlled for things like income and parental education. Spanking is still especially popular in the poorer parts of the south, a part of the country with demonstratively lower IQ scores (although the difference isn't all that much).

When you get right down to it all sorts of things are linked to IQ differences; one of the biggest is poverty since it is tied into a lot of negative outcome measures. No money often means poor health care (including pre- and post-natal care), a bad diet, exposure to crime and violence, sub-par schools, etc. Right on down the list those things can be tied to IQ deficits, so the trick is to control for them and then find out if there's enough variance left over to attribute to spanking.

It looks like there is, but the difference is small because they're only looking at part of the picture. With 1500 kids in their samples they have a whole crapload of statistical power, so maybe a ~3 point gain / drop in IQ is significant. It's still a pretty damned small difference; less than a fifth of a standard deviation for IQ scores.


Since: Jun 09

The South

#3 Sep 25, 2009
Rational people have a problem with spanking, not because it might cause a (pretty much undetectable, unmeasurable, and below the error level of the instruments) 3 point drop in IQ scores but because it's ineffective. Spanking works to stop a target behavior immediately, but it doesn't generalize well to other behaviors. In other words, very little learning is going on.

If it worked for long term, constructive behavior change I'd be all for it. Unfortunately it doesn't--not in any animal (not just humans). I don't think spanking is COMPLETELY useless... It's great when you need to stop a behavior immediately, especially a dangerous behavior that has risks that outweigh the risks of spanking.

But as a general go-to form of behavior modification, yeah, spanking is crap steeped in tradition with very few actual benefits.


Since: Sep 09

Location hidden

#4 Sep 25, 2009
I doubt spanking can lower someone's IQ.


Since: Jun 09

The South

#5 Sep 26, 2009
_Space1 wrote:
I doubt spanking can lower someone's IQ.
They're not claiming it's a causal relationship, but a correlational one. They're not talking about individuals, they're referring to trends in a population.

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