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Young Sheldon Fans Debate Paige's IQ And EQ (& How Her Family Life Affected Both)

With its clever prequel format, "Young Sheldon" has the opportunity to introduce new characters that we never met on "The Big Bang Theory," adding depth to Sheldon's (Jim Parsons) character as we learn more about his childhood and the events that shaped him as a person. One such "event" is a recurring force that often riles Sheldon (Iain Armitage) up: fellow child prodigy, rival, and sometimes friend Paige (Mckenna Grace).

Of all of Sheldon's influences, many fans think Paige has had the biggest impact on him. While she is introduced as a bright and confident student who brings out Sheldon's competitive side as an unbothered brainiac, the opportunities offered to the gifted child start to put pressure on her family at home, resulting in unforeseen consequences. This unfortunately leads to her parents' divorce, which sends Paige into a troubling spiral that is seen through her unnerving behavior. Since the two young geniuses are often put up against each other, fans have started debating which one is actually smarter and how their home lives may have affected them.

Interestingly enough, viewers also looked at their emotional intelligence alongside their intellect, which adds another complicated factor to the mix, although Redditor u/the_notorious_rmb believes you simply cannot have a high value for both, stating, "The higher your IQ, the lower chances you have of having a good EQ." While this is by no means true, viewers do seem to agree on where Paige and Sheldon fall on each spectrum.

Fans agree that Sheldon is smarter but Paige is more emotionally intelligent

Sheldon's genius IQ is one of the driving forces of the series and distinguishes him from other kids his age. On the other hand, he often finds himself unable to connect with people. Meanwhile, Paige, who also has a high IQ and is more knowledgeable than Sheldon in certain areas, is able to navigate social situations that Sheldon frequently struggles with. However, it's not that Paige is smarter than Sheldon; it's just that she has a higher EQ.

On Reddit, u/jiddinja noted the wealth gap between Paige's family and the Coopers, which may have given her an advantage through private education. This contrasts Sheldon's natural intelligence with a better-funded school that may have helped Paige in ways Sheldon's middle-class parents couldn't afford.

Despite this, u/Wandering_To_Nowhere feels the race is too close to call, arguing, "I never took it that she was smarter. It just seemed like she had different areas of expertise/interests. She knew things that Sheldon didn't know because he hasn't studied that subject (yet). He also knew a lot of things that she didn't know (yet)."

This interesting observation is even more relevant when the kids get older and their family life further affects their education. After her parents split up, Paige's emotional state leads her to fall behind in her studies and even drop out entirely, leaving "Young Sheldon" fans feeling uneasy when she returns in Season 6. Redditor u/Several_Sun_3544 concluded that Sheldon's success despite his family life ultimately makes him smarter, though the circumstances surrounding the two characters will inevitably lead to more debating among viewers.