Studies by both the London School of Economics and the UK’s National Childhood Development Study both confirm that smart people drink more alcohol. This likely comes as no surprise to many scientists, but the rest of us are probably asking how this is possible when drinking is known to cause health problems. Why would intelligent people knowingly do that to themselves?
What Exactly Do The Studies Reveal?
One study did research on thousands of 39-year-old women and came up with some interesting data on the relationship between intelligence and drinking. It found that women with university degrees were nearly twice as likely to drink alcohol every single day than those who did not complete university. Men too were studied with similar conclusions.
Even more, the relationship between intelligent children and their later drinking habits also reveals that the smarter the kid, the more likely they will develop a strong drinking habit into adulthood. Specifically, adolescents below the age of 16 were marked according to their intelligence on a scale. The smartest tested with IQs of more than 125, while some scored below a 75 on the IQ test. Those with high IQs grew up to report getting drunk at least once a month. The children that scored lowest on the IQ test reported almost never getting drunk.
Why Do Smart People Drink More?
The relationship between drinking and intelligence lies in the fact that drinking is still novel from an evolutionary perspective, or so says Psychology Today. It was only 10,000 years ago that humans began intentionally using alcohol for its effects. Correspondingly, that is when they also began to ferment fruits and grains to develop the magical beverages known as alcohol.
What this means is that our evolutonary ancestors did not get drunk. So, drinking like a pro, being able to function well in society despite hangovers, shows intellectual prowess. Our ancestors have not prepared us for being able to handle our alcohol. In short, heavy drinking and intelligence go hand in hand, it seems.
Also, Money Has Nothing To Do With It
All this data studying the drinking habits of intelligent people was careful to control for other factors, like social class, including while growing up. Having high-paying or “important” jobs did not affect anything in the study.
It’s only intelligence and intelligence alone which gives people a higher propensity to drink. Social standing truly had nothing to do with it. Does that mean that all the heavy drinkers out there can consider themselves among the best and brightest? Maybe so.