What image do you have in your mind when thinking about intelligence? Most likely, you will imagine a student who spends a good portion of their time studying or a nerdy professor whose entire life is devoted to science.
However, recent research suggests that in reality intelligence has a very little to do with these stereotypes often perpetuated by the masses. In fact, three different studies show that intelligent people tend to stay up later, do more drugs and have more sex. Though it is not always the case, and correlation doesn’t always imply causation. Anywho, here are the studies:
1. Intelligent and Sleep
A study published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences analyzed over 20,000 people and concluded that individuals with higher IQ levels have different circadian rhythms, or sleep cycles, compared to people with an average intelligence. It’s worth noting that the study focused on both adults and children and showed the same result for both categories – it turns out that individuals with high IQs, regardless of the age, tend to sleep and wake up about half an hour later than those with lower IQ levels.
The link between intelligence and sleep cycles has to do with the hypothesis that smart people are more likely to adopt evolutionarily novel (i.e. new) behaviors than less intelligent individuals, and nocturnal activity is a perfect example of such behavior. Our early ancestors, most likely, were active during the day and slept during the night.
The paper also mentions an earlier study which suggests that intelligent people are more likely to be freethinkers with liberal and atheistic views.
2. Intelligent and Drugs
An even more surprising finding on intelligent people is the fact that they are more likely to experiment with drugs. According to a study conducted by the National Child Development, children with high IQs in the United Kingdom are more likely to consume psychoactive drugs in their adult years than those with lower IQs. At the same time, the background a person comes from, such as the social class at birth or parents’ education, doesn’t matter at all.
Moreover, it’s not the only study that came to the conclusion that smart people do more drugs. Thus, a study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health revealed that people who achieved high scores in IQ tests as children were more likely to experiment with illegal substances as grown-ups.
Another study published in the Annals of Epidemiology also found that intelligent children tended to experiment with such drugs as cannabis, amphetamines, and magic mushrooms in their adulthood.
3. Intelligent and Sex
Another curious discovery about intelligent people comes from the UK, where researchers revealed that young people who studied at universities like Oxford and Cambridge spent more money on sex toys than students at ‘lower-ranked’ universities. It’s needless to say how difficult is to get admitted to the world’s top universities, so it makes sense that most of their students are people of high intelligence.
How do the study authors explain this correlation between a higher intelligence and an increased sex drive? A possible explanation could be the fact that sex is a natural stress reliever, and the students take advantage of it to lower their stress levels, which go along with a high performance required at such prestigious institutions.
As you see, intelligent people turn out to have quite different habits and lifestyles from what we thought. Of course, the results of these studies don’t imply that all smart people are night owls who do drugs and use sex toys. But still, studies like these are interesting already because they break common stereotypes and give us the opportunity to look at things from a different perspective.
Why else do you think this is? Could it be that intelligent people tend to recognize the ills of society more so than their counterparts, and use sex and drugs as a coping mechanism? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below: