Intelligent People Drink More Alcohol

No, really! A recent study published in Psychology Today states that:

 “Consistent with the prediction of the Hypothesis, more intelligent children, both in the United Kingdom and the United States, grow up to consume alcohol more frequently and in greater quantities than less intelligent children.”

Check out this fancy graph that shows the association between childhood intelligence (measured in junior high and high school), and adult alcohol consumption seven years later:

Finally! A legitimate scientific reason for alcoholism–it’s because I’m smart! I’ll drink to that.

This is a guest post by Lauren Lane. She is part of the team putting together the Skepticon convention next week. If you’d like to make a donation to support the largest free skeptic conference in the nation located Springfield, Missouri, you can do so here. We appreciate your support!

About Lauren Lane

Lauren Lane is the co-founder of Skepticon, the Midwest's largest skeptic student-run conference and remains a lead organizer today. She has not one, but TWO fancy art degrees and is not afraid to use them.

  • Dwayne_Windham

    So should I start putting together a subchapter of Mensa called MENSAA that combines people of high IQ with those looking to live sober and stop drinking alcohol? 

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    Take a series of intelligence tests over a period of hours as</em you drink, and see if the results fall into an interesting pattern. 

    I guess I'm the moron of my family since I don't drink, but that's because I saw that for generations all the males died of alcoholism before they were 62. I guess they were geniuses.

    I'm 62.

  • Stefan

    Ooops…that article is over 2 years old…I know, it’s really posted as a joke…but I thought some people might take it too seriously.  This response from another Psych Today blog author kind of trashes it:  http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/addiction-in-society/201011/why-do-smarter-healthier-and-richer-people-drink-moderately 

  • Gburgatheist

    As my wife says, “the reason intelligent people drink more, is so we can cope better with the unintelligent”

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    comment glitch

  • sijd

    “The Hypothesis would therefore predict that more intelligent individuals may be more likely to prefer drinking modern alcoholic beverages (beer, wine, and distilled spirits) than less intelligent individuals, because the substance and the method of consumption are both evolutionarily novel”

    Seriously ? This is evolutionary psychology at its best ..

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    Take an ongoing series of intelligence tests over a period of hours as you drink, and see if the results fall into an interesting pattern.

    I suppose that I’m the family moron since I don’t drink, but that might be because 31 years ago I saw that every male in my family for generations had died of alcoholism before they were 62. They might have been geniuses, but it was hard to tell.

    I’m 62.

  • http://twitter.com/_mikeweber Mike Weber

    Personally I subscribe to the Cliff Clavin theory that drinking actually makes you smarter :)
    “A herd of buffalo can only move as fast as the slowest buffalo. And when the herd is hunted, it is the slowest and weakest ones at the back that are killed first. This natural selection is good for the herd as a whole, because the general speed and health of the whole group keeps improving by the regular killing of the weakest members. In much the same way, the human brain can only operate as fast as the slowest brain cells. Now, as we know, excessive intake of alcohol kills brain cells. But naturally, it attacks the slowest and weakest brain cells first. In this way, regular consumption of beer eliminates the weaker brain cells, making the brain a faster and more efficient machine. And that is why you always feel smarter after a few beers.”

  • Revyloution

    As a Spanish speaker,  I always got a laugh out of Mensa.

    In Espanol,  someone who is foolish or stupid is menso.  Unless they are female, where you change the ‘o’ to ‘a’.
    Yup, mensa,  to be a foolish or stupid woman.

  • Edmond

    This makes sense.  Coping with our bitch of a world would seem to be more difficult when one has a greater and more nuanced capacity for perceiving the details of global (and personal) problems.  More intelligent people would hold more complicated jobs, and might carry a greater sense of responsibility.

    Ignorance really is bliss.

  • http://twitter.com/silo_mowbray Silo Mowbray

    Well hell, I guess I’m a freaking GENIUS.

  • JohnnieCanuck

    You really going to go with AA and their 12 step program, where you surrender your life to Jesus and beg Him to lift you out of your rock bottom miserable existence so you can glorify Him and sing His praises?

    Go with the FSM program. That would be the smart thing to do and  that way at least, there’ll be marinara sauce. Less praying, too.

  • http://twitter.com/ErnestValdemar Ernest Valdemar

    Well, speaking as a a skeptic alcoholic with a high IQ and a low MMPI score, this fits right in with the Depressive Realism hypothesis.

  • http://twitter.com/RothAnim Jonathan Roth

    I was just listening to Billy West (voice of Fry, Zoidberg, Ren and Stimpy) talking about how drugs served as a way to shut the brain up; to STOP thinking when you wanted to… say… sleep. 

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    *passes the bong*

    Works for me, man.

  • mikespeir

    Oh, right!  I’ve never had a drop in my life and….

    Okay, maybe I should start.

  • Tim

    Maybe smarter people earn higher wages and can afford to drink more (and better) alcohol?

  • Sindigo
  • AxeGrrl

    *hugging my vaporizer*

    ditto :)

  • Ida Know

    I’m a freak who can’t stand the taste of anything alcoholic.  So I guess that means I shouldn’t even be able to walk upright, much less use a computer.

  • Coyotenose

     I watched every episode of Cheers. How in the GOD did I miss such an amazing quote!

  • ReadsInTrees

    I’m a freak who, at age 27, has yet to consume an alcoholic drink of any kind. My thinking is that if it SMELLS gross, and kissing people who’ve been drinking tastes gross, and if alcohol in cooking also tastes gross….I’m probably not going to want to drink it. If it’s an acquired taste…why bother acquiring it? My only worry is that all of the women on my mom’s side have had high cholesterol, and the ONLY thing (including medication, diet, and exercize) that worked for my mom was to have a drink every evening. Blech. If this is my fate, then I suppose I’ll have to start drinking. Maybe something fruity like hard lemonade.

  • Lurker111

    The one positive thing that alcohol does is allow us to bear the company of idiots.  It’s sad but true.
     

  • The Captian

    They also work as a way to think about  problem differently.

  • Gringa

    What does that say about mormons?

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    I think you’re wise to pay attention to your body’s initial reaction to the stuff. Alcohol is the liquid waste product of yeast. You know what the word for the liquid waste product of animals is, so that kind of puts the whole thing into perspective.

    Methods of controlling cholesterol are progressing, and I think you’ll be able to find ways to control your level without having to drink fungus piss.

  • smrnda

    I think it might be the money. I can afford to drink, therefore, I do.

    Perhaps I fit the profile of the ‘intelligent drinker’ exactly in that I’m highly educated, have a job that requires lots of specialized training and I’m a total snob when it comes to booze. I also actually like the taste of what I drink.

    From my own time in psychology research, alcohol consumption among the ‘less intelligent’ (however they measured that) may be understated. People who think of themselves as smart are less likely to feel ashamed of drinking, whereas people who have been less educated might be aware that drinking is considered ‘bad’ and they might under-report their own consumption. Ask a guy with just a high school education in a rural state how often he drinks, and he might feel compelled to provide a lower answer.

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/chidy/ chicago dyke, Blonde

    if you think alcohol in fine cooking doesn’t taste good, you’re not doing it right. there are some dishes, very tasty dishes, in which something like cooking sherry or bourbon are required. red wine based meat sauces are heavenly. go to a french restaurant; you’ll change your mind, and you won’t really taste the alcohol. 

  • Antinomian

    I always liked Oscar Wilde’s comment; “Work is the curse of the drinking class”.

  • ReadsInTrees

     It’s the wine taste itself that I don’t like. I just don’t care for the flavor any time I’ve eaten anything cooked with wine or liquor.

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    Hmm. Fair enough.

  • Shayne B

    I agree. I cannot deal with people on a daily basis in actually consumption of a beverage that’s smarter than them because it simply does not talk back.


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