Under the Microscope
by Glynn Wilson
A very smart drinker…
If you like to drink and party and think you are smarter than the average American or Brit, it turns out you may be right.
According to a national child development study in the United Kingdom and a national longitudinal study of adolescent health in the United States, more intelligent people consume alcoholic beverages more frequently and in greater quantities than less intelligent people.
In the case of the British, “very bright” children grew up to consume a fair amount more alcohol than their “very dull” cohorts.
Even controlling for demographic variables such as marital status, parents’ education, income and childhood social class, the findings were the same: Smarter kids grow up to drink more than dumb kids.
Oddly, according to Psychology Today, the hypothesis behind the study is based on evolution and the results disprove social, cultural factors.
“It means that it is not because more intelligent people occupy higher-paying, more important jobs that require them to socialize and drink with their business associates that they drink more alcohol,” the social scientists conclude. “It appears to be their intelligence itself, rather than correlates of intelligence, that inclines them to drink more.”
In other words, it is nature, not nurture, in this case.
Drinkable alcohol is a relatively “novel” invention going back to only 10,000 years ago. Prior to that, human ancestors found they could get a buzz by eating fermented, rotten fruit.
The results of this study do not “predict that more intelligent individuals are more likely to engage in healthy and beneficial behavior,” since the fact that over drinking “may be detrimental to health and has few, if any, positive consequences.”
That is simply irrelevant for the hypothesis.
Rather, the results predict that “more intelligent individuals are more likely to engage in evolutionarily novel behavior.”
“Since the consumption of modern alcoholic beverages — including binge drinking and getting drunk — is evolutionarily novel, the hypothesis would predict that more intelligent individuals are more likely to engage in it, and the empirical data from the UK and the US confirm it.”
Here’s to that. Cheers, y’all!
© 2010 – 2015, Glynn Wilson. All rights reserved.