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HindustanTimes Thu,17 Apr 2014

'Too much media attention detrimental to memory prince's ability'

Vishal Joshi , Hindustan Times  Karnal/kurukshetra, September 27, 2013
First Published: 19:39 IST(27/9/2013) | Last Updated: 19:40 IST(27/9/2013)

Psychologists at Kurukshetra University (KU) have cautioned the family of Kautilya Pandit, a five-year-old 'memory prince' from Kohand village of Karnal, that too much interaction with the media could affect his mental health.

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In the past almost two weeks, the boy has appeared on various news channels to show his extraordinary memory talent.

Following a request of the family this month, the faculty of the department of psychology, KU, had agreed to conduct intelligence quotient (IQ) and other tests on Kautilya. But stung by the extra media attention, the family has twice cancelled the tests.

Prof CR Darolia, chairperson of the department of psychology, told Hindustan Times on Friday that the boy had a rare memory and his family should be cautious about his mental health. Kautilya's family has informed the KU faculty that the boy had fallen sick twice in the past 10 days. Psychologists attribute it to long interviews on television.

Prof Darolia said that not only TV channels but also private companies and elected representatives could try to get mileage in the media by honouring the boy. "The family should refrain from it to avoid any further psychological disturbance."

"It seems that the family is stung by the elaborated publicity given to the child prodigy. In an apparent bid to cash in on the child's memory, the family cancelled the Thursday's appointment in the KU on the ground that politicians in Delhi wanted to meet Kautilya," Darolia said.

As a media report quoted Kautilya's family that the boy had been invited to participate in Kaun Banega Crorepati (KBC), Darolia said overexposure must be avoided to maintain mental and physical health of the child of such a tender age.

Dr Hardeep Joshi, an assistant professor in the department and expert in psychological testing, said it would be premature to tag the mental abilities without scientific investigation.

"Kautilya is certainly exceptional but only a series of tests could determine if he only excels in memorising and recalling or is excellent in IQ ratings as well. We are aware about the sensitivity of his age but his family's attitude may jeopardise his natural quality," Joshi added.

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