What is the mark of an intelligent mind in our day and age? When we think of intelligent people, we may have been conditioned to envision them in a library somewhere studying. We associate intelligence with social reservation and good behaviour. But what if the opposite were true? What if the ones who are most intelligent are engaging in behaviours grandma and grandpa wouldn’t approve of? Times have changed, and people who have a higher intelligence aren’t always interested in studying and following the rules.
This may sound a bit shocking, but a series of studies have come out showing that intelligent people stay up later, do more drugs, and have more sex. The people in our society who have the highest IQs are noctural and enjoy indulging in drugs and sex more often than people with a lower IQ.
Here is a list of the three studies that should completely change the way we think about intelligence and behaviour:
1) Intelligent People Are Night Owls
In a study published in Personality and Individual Differences, researchers proposed the hypothesis that people who are of high intelligence will be drawn to evolutionarily novel behaviours. Novel behaviours (new behaviours) are thought to be evolutionary advantageous because they expand our problem solving ability and provide us with new knowledge we can use to improve our lives. It’s kind of like nature’s way of pushing itself to evolve and create something new.
They found that intelligent people are not only more likely to be liberal and free thinkers, they are also more likely to have different circadian rhythms (sleep cycles).
The study found that people with high childhood and adulthood IQs went to bed about half an hour later each night than people of normal intelligence, and 30 minutes later than people of lower intellectual ability. They also wake up later by about the same margains as well. This was true of both weekends and weekdays.
As the study concludes:
Survey of ethnographies of traditional societies suggests that nocturnal activities were probably rare in the ancestral environment, so the Hypothesis would predict that more intelligent individuals are more likely to be nocturnal than less intelligent individuals. The analysis of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health) confirms the prediction.
The correlation from the study was very clear. The higher the IQ, the later they tend to stay up. And these results were concluded from a sample of over 20,000 people. If you or your children have a habit of staying up late and can’t seem to break it, that could actually be a good thing. Instead of trying to force yourself to go to bed “on time”, use that time to do something creative.
2) Intelligent People Do More Drugs
Intelligent people aren’t just night owls, they also seem to be more into experimenting with drugs. Sounds crazy right? It didn’t make sense at first to me either. Some of the least intelligent people I have ever met smoke and drink way too much. But on average, if you have a higher IQ, you are more likely to experiment with drugs.
A National Child Development study reported on in Psychology Today, people who have high IQs both in childhood and adulthood are much more likely to experiment with psychoactive drugs than people with low IQs. Why? Because psychoactive drugs are evolutionarily novel and different from the general behaviour of our ancestors.
According this study which was published in the UK in 2010:
Net of sex, religion, religiosity, marital status, number of children, education, earnings, depression, satisfaction with life, social class at birth, mother’s education, and father’s education, British children who are more intelligent before the age of 16 are more likely to consume psychoactive drugs at age 42 than less intelligent children.
…there is a clear monotonic association between childhood general intelligence and adult consumption of psychoactive drugs. “Very bright” individuals (with IQs above 125) are roughly three-tenths of a standard deviation more likely to consume psychoactive drugs than “very dull” individuals (with IQs below 75).
Another study published in 2011 in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health found that people who scored high in intelligent tests as children were much more likely to experiment with illegal drugs in their adulthood, especially cannabis. Another study published in 2012 came upon the exact same discovery that intelligent children were more likely to use cannabis, amphetamines, and magic mushrooms later in life.
3) Intelligent People Have More Sex
Additionally, researchers in the UK found that students studying at universities such as Oxford and Cambridge spent more money on sex toys than at other universities. “The correlation probably has something to do with the open-mindedness that comes with intelligence,” says Annalisa Rose, 23, who works at Honey, a high-end sex shop in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
“I think that the ability to engage in an open sex life comes with the abilities of introspection and logical thought, and those require some level of intelligence. If we’re talking about an open sex life that comes from an emotionally healthy place, sexual morals are mostly made up anyway and intelligent people can rationalize past them…High-achievers aim for excellence in all areas of their life, so it makes sense that achieving sexual happiness is one of their goals.”
This is quite the significant sociological finding. Students studying at the worlds most elite universities also spend the most money on sex toys. It also appears that the more prestigious the university, the more students have sex. These findings which were reported on The Telegraph have sparked speculation that high intelligence might be correlated with an increased sex drive.
Here is a list the top 5 Universities that spend the most amount of money on sex toys per year:
1) Cambridge £9,793
2) Oxford £9,689
3) Manchester £5,441
4) Lancaster £4,103
5) York £3,751
What does this all mean?
Correlation does not imply causation. This does not mean that staying up late, doing drugs, and experimenting with sex toys makes you more intelligent. But it seems to be the case that people who naturally have a higher degree of intelligence partake in these activities naturally because they are drawn to them. Maybe it is because of their openmindedness, their desire to expand their mind and their experience, or a biological urge to experiment with something novel.
Chances are, a lot of people reading this tend to stay up late and indulge in life’s pleasures. This is not necessarily a bad thing, and it may even be a natural consequence of having an above average IQ. These three studies completely shatter everything we would expect to be true about people of high intelligence. It seems to be the intellectuals that are having the most fun. I think it’s time we let go of old stereotypes.