Did you ever think that a tiny raisin can help predict how academically gifted your child might be? Apparently, it can!
According to a report in The Telegraph, placing a raisin under a cup and telling a toddler not to eat it until told to do so, can predict how intelligent they will be at the age of eight.
And while you think resisting a raisin is easy, most toddlers will find the task “an excruciating test of self-control”, with the majority failing.
Professor Dieter Wolke of the University of Warwick is in the team of researchers who made this surprising discovery.
According to him, “better inhibitory control at age 20 months predicted better attention regulation and academic achievement at age 8 years.”
And those little ones who can wait for one whole minute without giving into raisin-induced temptation are headed towards academic greatness, according to the research team.
In fact, “by the age of eight the youngsters who resist temptation will have an IQ of 7 points higher than those who ate the fruit early.”
Reportedly, the “raisin game” — which is specifically used to test attention span and learning capacity — can also be done with chocolate, a marshmallow or other “nibbles”.
The team at the University of Warwick are especially interested in using the game to find out if premature babies will have learning difficulties.
Professor Wolke, who is based the Department of Psychology and at Warwick Medical School, said:
“The raisin game is an easy and effective tool that is good at assessing inhibitory control in young children, takes only 5 minutes, and can be used in clinical practice to identify children at risk of attention and learning problems.
“Better inhibitory control at age 20 months predicted better attention regulation and academic achievement at age 8 years.
“The results also point to potential innovative avenues to early intervention after preterm birth.”
When asked if parents could try the test on their children at home, Professor Wolke added: “Results may be different if a parent or an independent tester does it.”
A study spanning decades
The kids who did the “game” were part of the Bavarian Longitudinal Study, which started in Germany in 1985 and is still underway.
During the study, 558 children were assessed for self-control when they were 20 months old. Then, the results of those born prematurely (at 25-38 weeks) were compared to those born between 39-41 weeks.
The toddlers were given a raisin placed under an opaque cup, within easy reach. They were given three training runs, following which, they were asked to wait for a minute before being told they could eat the raisin.
Reports say that during the study “it was found that those who were born very prematurely were more likely to take the raisin before the allotted time.”
In a follow up study, researcher found that the kids who could not control their behaviour as toddlers weren’t performing as well in school as their full-term peers, seven years down the track.
The same kids around age eight, were evaluated by a team of psychologists and pediatricians using three different behaviour ratings of attention from mothers, psychologists and the whole research team, at
Standardised tests were used to assess academic achievement, including mathematics, reading and spelling/writing.
Researchers concluded that the worse the child scored on the raisin test, the more likely they were to have poor attention skills and lower academic achievement at eight years old
The point of all this? Experts believe that the ability to identify cognitive problems early on could help teachers develop tailored education for underachieving children.
What do you think about the “raisin game”, parents? Do share your thoughts with us in a comment below.