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An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: Growing up in a greener urban environment boosts children’s intelligence and lowers levels of difficult behavior, a study has found. The analysis of more than 600 children aged 10-15 showed a 3% increase in the greenness of their neighborhood raised their IQ score by an average of 2.6 points. The effect was seen in both richer and poorer areas. There is already significant evidence that green spaces improve various aspects of children’s cognitive development but this is the first research to examine IQ. The cause is uncertain but may be linked to lower stress levels, more play and social contact or a quieter environment. The increase in IQ points was particularly significant for those children at the lower end of the spectrum, where small increases could make a big difference, the researchers said.
The study, published in the journal Plos Medicine, used satellite images to measure the level of greenness in neighborhoods, including parks, gardens, street trees and all other vegetation. The average IQ score was 105 but the scientists found 4% of children in areas with low levels of greenery scored below 80, while no children scored below 80 in areas with more greenery. The benefits of more greenery that were recorded in urban areas were not replicated in suburban or rural areas. [T]his may be because those places had enough greenness for all children living there to benefit. Behavioral difficulties such as poor attention and aggressiveness were also measured in the children using a standard rating scale, and the average score was 46. In this case, a 3% rise in greenery resulted in a two-point reduction in behavioral problems, in line with previous studies.
“This generation may be the one that will face Armageddon.”
— Ronald Reagan, “People” magazine, December 26, 1985