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Human Intelligence: News and Commentary

I like to poke around the internet to see what mind-related research has been done recently. Here are a few items I found. I offer my own thoughts and opinions at the end of each short report. Feel free to send me your angry emails for my reporting on the connections between intelligence and maternal feelings, atheism, and political affiliation. But be fair and complain about my comments, not about the research. I'm just reporting what I find.

Intelligence Lessens Maternal Urges

In a controversial study about intelligence and maternal feelings it was discovered that smarter women are less likely to want to have children. In fact, Satoshi Kanazawa, a researcher at the London School of Economics found that for every 15 extra points a woman had on an IQ test, she was about 25% less likely to want babies. It could be that it is a matter of practicality; that higher intelligence makes it easier to understand the true cost (in money, time and work) of having children. Then there is another hypothesis. There is some evidence of a correlation between higher intelligence and ego development. Maybe a smart man or woman is more likely to have a big ego that doesn't make room for others in their lives. My wife and I being childless by choice, I'm not thrilled by that hypothesis, but who knows?

You High IQ Might Not Make You Rich

Jay Zagorsky, an economist at Ohio State University's Center for Human Resource Research, looked at the relationship between intelligence and wealth. What were the results of his study? There is no relationship. Previous studies found that income is generally correlated with intelligence. This study also found that to be true, showing an increase of $6,000 to $18,000 per year for those with an IQ over 130 versus those with an average IQ (100). However, income does not necessarily translate into wealth.

Geniuses, it seems, are just as likely to run into debt problems, or to miss payments on mortgages. They may make more money, but they don't have more net worth to show for it. The study used survey information from over 7,000 respondents born between 1957 and 1964. The bottom line was that there was no correlation found between IQ and wealth. As I've said before, mind power isn't just about having intelligence. It is also about knowing how to use it.

Being Smart May Help You Live Longer

In a British study about IQ and longevity it was found that intelligence does correlate with a longer life. Children who had higher intelligence scores on tests given for the Scottish Mental Survey of 1932 were "significantly more likely to survive to age 76." The exact causes are not clear, but I would guess that higher income (see the item above) helps with better health care and a healthier diet.

Are Liberals and Atheists Smarter?

The answer is yes according to Satoshi Kanazawa, a researcher at the London School of Economics and Political Science. At least that's what's shown by his study and data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. The latter data shows that young adults who call themselves "very liberal" had an average IQ of 106 during adolescence. And those who say they are "very conservative?" During adolescence they had an average IQ of 95.

Kanazawa also found a positive correlation between higher IQ and atheism for men and women, and a correlation between higher IQ and a preference for sexual exclusivity in men (but not women). I don't have any smart remarks for this one, and in any case I have probably pissed off enough readers just by reporting on it.

Smarter People Might Have More Mental Illness

There is some evidence that more psychological problems come with more intelligence. One study found that kids who do well in school are more likely to have bipolar disorder. Almost four times as likely in fact. Last year a study on intelligence and worrying found that people with higher IQ scores worried more and that those who had generalized anxiety disorder tended to have higher intelligence.

Of course there have been anecdotal stories forever about depressed geniuses. Maybe some of those were based on people who thought they were geniuses and were depressed because they really weren't? Or maybe ignorance really can be bliss, and it's just not as likely in people with higher intelligence.

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