Are You Enticed Enough?

TOI, Dec 1 carried a headline “Parents taking tots for IQ tests to give head start in the rat race”

The news piece went on to describe/ subtly promote DMIT (Dermatoglyphics Multiple Intelligence Test).

Are you enticed enough?

Then you MUST read more…

Are You Enticed Enough? - What Is DMIT Test?

We all are aware that kids represent an important demographic to today’s marketers and there is a race on to find another new way to target kids in their next campaign. They either use a kid’s ‘pester power’ – chocolates, Barbie dolls, chota bheem merchandise are few examples or target parents hitting an emotional chord, subtly forcing them to spend for kids; summer camps, investment plans and now DMIT!

The news item disturbed me! We, physicians, are already facing major problems due to the fact that children are under constant vigil of their parents and maids throughout the day. Their daily schedules are so tightly structured that they have no time to be their own selves and grow up with little or no initiative.

We have parents who dictate what the child should or should not do and their choices are based on either what others are doing or they take cues from media (some truth and more half baked stories).

In the January 2005 Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, Burdette and Whitaker wrote on the importance of free play. They argue that free play promotes intellectual and cognitive growth, emotional intelligence, and benefits social interactions. They describe how play involves problem solving, which is one of the highest executive functions.

When professionals are strongly recommending unstructured (but supervised) activities for a child to attain his/ her true potential; we have someone recommending a test, which will help parents decide what is best for their child!

Few facts:

  • So far there appears to be no public research available to establish the validity of this test; the only evidence available is, it being proclaimed as a ‘scientific product/test’.
  • The product originated from Taiwan. The whole test is based on the concept that each finger is connected with the 5 brain lobes of the cerebral hemisphere. The product claims to assess the ‘multiple intelligences’ of young children. Basically, the product suggests that one can assess Gardner’s multiple intelligences via the 10 fingerprints of your hand.
  • Some medical jargon: Medicine recognizes four lobes of each hemisphere (frontal, parietal, temporal & occipital) and the idea that all the lobes have a universal representation in tips of the fingers is preposterous at the least! Maybe they are talking of Chinese or oriental medicine (neuro anatomy does not change); I am also a practitioner of Acupuncture for the last 30 years and the concept of Qi (life force) does not demonstrate such a control in finger tips.
  • It is said that HR personnel, in addition to psychometrics, use DMIT to identify true potential of prospects. They forget to mention that HR personnel use it, as ‘another’ tool after a candidate has been shortlisted. Also they have an “UNDO” button – if their analysis fails, the prospect does not even complete probation period. When you base a child’s future on some (any) study, unfortunately there is no “UNDO” button! You have already done “CTRL+ALT+DELETE” to your child’s future!
  • Consider this corollary – any comprehensive health check report throws up few abnormal findings that are not clinically relevant; and only a trained professional can act on “filtration and interpretation” of data at hand.
  • A pertinent question here, are there enough professionals well trained to interpret a 34 pages report?
  • Filtering and interpretation is doubly important for data based, software driven deduction, because it is not necessarily deterministic. All that you may glean may not be relevant.
  • Has any one spared a thought of adverse effect on a child, if the test proclaims that he will not do well in studies!

Any test needs to be rational else they all have the potential to create havoc.

Lastly, those parents who wish to get their kids analyzed should first get their own analysis done (without mentioning their educational qualification and career details) and check the veracity of the report.

Dr Chander Asrani, father to three daughters and grand father to one, is a post-graduate in Family Medicine. He has over 35 years in clinical practice, launched www.growingwell.com in 2000 and since then has been writing on various subjects. Know more about him at about.me/drasrani.