Intelligent people drink more alcohol than stupid people, here’s the scientific explanation why


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Intelligent people drink more alcohol than stupid people, here’s the scientific explanation why

Oh so that’s why I’m always drunk af! Eureka

Personally, I’ve been saying this for years, but now science has finally done something useful and decided to back me up in the theory that intelligent people drink more alcohol than those who are less intelligent. A new study published in Psychology Today says that smart people are more likely to binge drink and get drunk.

It’s an ‘evolutionarily novel’ ability

Drinking alcohol is the latest behaviour to be categorised as “evolutionarily novel” – basically meaning that it’s not what our ancestors did, so the ability to learn it and be able to handle it (despite pretty bad hangovers) is an indication of intellectual ability. Evolution has done nothing to prepare us for getting pissed, so if you’re able to do it, you have outstanding intelligence.

Our experience as humans with consuming fermented fruit (alcohol, duh) is pretty recent – agriculturally we only became able to do it around 10,000 years ago. According to the study this means “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”.

Smart kids grow up to drink more booze

The research found that clever children in both the UK and US grow up to consume more greater quantities of alcohol and drank more frequently than less intelligent kids. On the graph shown below they illustrated that children who were found to be “very bright” when tested by the National Child Development Study in the UK grew up to drink more alcohol in their 20s, 30s and 40s, compared to kids that were (this is so harsh) tested and found to be “very dull”. Sad.

In fact it’s a trend that continues when testing intelligent preteens and teenagers. Those who were consistently at the top end of intellect as a kid drink much more than the dumbest kids – in fact the research found that “very bright” British children grow up to consume nearly 80 per cent more alcohol than their “very dull” classmates. The same was true for Americans – the smarter they were as kids, the more alcohol they consumed as young adults.

It’s nothing to do with jobs or money

The data carefully controlled other extraneous factors in their research, such as childhood social class and parental education in children from the US and UK. They found that intelligent people do drink more, but it had nothing to do with their social standing or the fact that intelligent people tend to work in high-paying, “important” jobs which require them to drink more alcohol for networking. Instead it was the intelligence itself, not the societal correlations of intelligence, which incline them to drink more.

Smart people are just less healthy in general (we have more to think of I guess)

Obviously, although it’s one of the most fun things you can do when you’re bored, broke and winging it throughout most of our adult life, getting drunk isn’t good for you. Binge drinking especially, as every patronising PSA will tell you, is A Bad Thing. Intelligent people know this, but the research found it was irrelevant to them  – smart people still like booze regardless of how bad it is. Specifically: “It does not predict that more intelligent individuals are more likely to engage in healthy and beneficial behavior.”

So basically, we might be book smart but we still get drunk and do dumb shit. Sounds about right to be honest.

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