Great news, if you are one to enjoy a cold beer or a glass of wine on your downtime. While there is a lot of negative stigma associated with drinking and what it means for those who choose to partake, studies reveal that the smartest, most intelligent people among us very well may be the heaviest drinkers! Cheers!
Often when we think about drinking, specifically those that are identified as ‘heavy drinkers’ in our society, the image that comes to mind is anything but positive. We think about the wild party animals that fail to consider any form of responsibility in their lives or the raging alcoholics that drink away every dime they own. However, data out of the London School of Economics reveals that drinking daily may not be a negative thing, in fact, it may indicate a higher level of intelligence.
Researchers followed thousands of people born in Britain during one specific week in 1970, analyzing both their daily drinking habits as well as their level of intelligence by conducting routine questionnaires at various periods throughout their lives. Comparing the data, they discovered an interesting correlation. Those individuals studied that had University degrees were twice as likely to drink daily as those that had a lower level of education.
The connection between higher IQ levels and substance use is referred to as the ‘Savanna-IQ Interaction Hypothesis.’ It suggests that more intelligent individuals are more likely to engage in what they consider to be ‘novel’ values and that the use of substances like alcohol and tobacco are novel in our society. Therefore, if someone possesses a higher IQ level they are more likely to smoke and drink than those who score lower on intelligence testing.
While the pattern was seen across everyone tested, there was a noticeable difference between genders. The study revealed that highly educated women were 71% more likely to drink on a daily basis, however highly educated men were only 49% more likely.
The authors of the report, Francesca Borgonovi, and Maria Huerta have several theories as to why those with higher levels of education may choose to partake in higher levels of drinking. They point to a shift in our society, with people ‘settling down’ later than previous generations, getting married later and having children later in life. This allows them to postpone the associated responsibilities, maintaining an active social life for longer.
This is further perpetuated by a focus on our careers. If we look at the meetings held between associates, as well as with clients, these are often done over drinks, or at a restaurant aka dinner and drinks. This creates a drinking-friendly culture which promotes the regular consumption of alcohol as part of one’s work routine.
A team of researchers out of Finland conducted a similar study, looking to either prove or disprove the theory that higher childhood intelligence levels would result in earlier experimentation and higher levels of substance use throughout the teenage years and into adulthood. Working with 3000 fraternal and identical twins, the study revealed that those participants who demonstrated better verbal development as a child were more likely to partake in frequent drinking and intoxication throughout both adolescence and adulthood.
The moral of the story? If you happen to enjoy kicking back with a cold one after a long day at work, there is no need to feel guilty – it may just be a sign that you’re highly intelligent!