December 4, 2013

Smarter people drink more.

Science (supposedly) says. At the link, summaries of studies that show the correlation.

Now, why is there a correlation? Let's brainstorm...

1. Drinking is a way to dial down your intelligence, thus adjusting yourself to the world as it is, built around the needs and interests of average people.

2. You'll still be able to get your tasks done. In fact, maybe you've been zipping through your work too quickly. If you were dumber, you couldn't afford to hamper yourself with drink.

3. Being smart, you find it easier to locate drinks. At some point, you'll be saying "Where's my drink?" like the next guy, but you'll have that extra margin of drink-locating capacity.

4. (An idea from the article.) "[T]he human brain has trouble dealing with situations that did not exist in the Pleistocene environment we evolved in... 'general intelligence evolved as a domain-specific psychological adaptation to solve evolutionarily novel problems.' Alcohol consumption is 'evolutionarily novel'—humans began cultivating and consuming alcohol only about 10,000 years ago," so smarter people are better at drinking.

Surely, there are more ideas here.

46 comments:

Deirdre Mundy said...

Huh. I must be stupid then, since I hardly drink at all. (Actually, I'm cheap. And I like the good stuff. So I have to drink less to drink under budget.)

Hey... maybe smarter people drink more because they have more money to spend on alcohol?

Matthew Sablan said...

The one I always figured is disposable income. People who have more are more able to use it on recreational things. If someone rarely has money left over and is smart, he/she won't waste it on beer. But, that same smart person, with extra money left over might.

So, you've self-selected smart/poor people from being likely to drink more. Dumb/poor people MIGHT drink more often, but pure logistics keep them from doing so.

Smilin' Jack said...

Drinking is a way to dial down your intelligence, thus adjusting yourself to the world as it is, built around the needs and interests of average people.

Not quite. Drinking is a way to dull the pain of living in a world full of morons.

drozz said...

that explains my constant thirst for booze.

thank goodness! i was beginning to suspect i had alcohol abuse issues.

EDH said...

No, it wasn't a drunken date rape...

It was a conjugal Mensa meeting.

Original Mike said...

"Surely, there are more ideas here."

Here's an idea; the assertion is wrong.

Big Mike said...

I think Matthew and Diedre are right. Smart people make more money and can afford more leisure activities.

They may also be answering questionnaires more honestly.

Bob Ellison said...

n) Drinking makes you smart.

Brian said...

I find Kanazawa and most of his ev-psych colleagues tiresome.

They know almost nothing about the systems they're studying. And that is cool. Every science has got to start somewhere.

But they can't seem to resist grand theorizing and public pronouncement based on the almost nothing that they know, and that is not really cool.

Larry Nelson said...

Surely, there are more ideas here.

5. I am a researcher with a drinking problem. I need research money and a rationalization for my problem.

Matthew Sablan said...

Hah. Let's be careful about saying "smarter" people drink more. It reads: "Researchers at the London School of Economics examined data on thousands of British adults in their 30s and found a positive correlation between educational attainment and daily drinking."

So, people who went to school longer drink more. That's much different than an objective intelligence test.

traditionalguy said...

Yup. Us hillbilly southern moonshiners are actually Mensa guys in disguise. And we sure do play a mean blue grass Dueling Banjo riff.

Seriously, socially intelligent guys use a social lubricant to make alliances and learn community gossip. But we don't get drunk. That's for the other poor schmuck.

MadisonMan said...

Cheers!

jimbino said...

Lots of folks are teetotalers because they're religious. Religious folks are dumb, or they wouldn't be religious.

EDH said...

"My advice to you is..."

Irene said...

"Smarter" people may have more stressful jobs, and they use alcohol to unwind and forget their troubles.

Paul said...

"So, people who went to school longer drink more. That's much different than an objective intelligence test."

Longer time spent in the leftist indoctrination centers will most definitely fuel the desire to anesthetize oneself.

As well as make one stupider.

Carol said...

I'd say #1. Also, it's a way of slowing down time and living a bit more in the moment instead of rushing through everything. For example I can enjoy company more, instead of wishing they would all leave so I can read a book with the cat on my lap.

But golly I can't drink at work, at least not when there actual tasks to do.

Carol said...

And man, lotta h8trz here!

Cheers, let's all have one.

Henry said...

The twin studies are interesting, but I would posit another correlation. Smarter people have more money.

Ann Althouse said...

"But golly I can't drink at work, at least not when there actual tasks to do."

I never drink during the daytime and never have, with the sole exception of back in the 1970s when I had a job that involved so little work that I'd sometimes get a beer with a sandwich for lunch and think (even hope) the work would take longer. There wasn't enough to do, but I had to be there, and my desk was exposed in a way that I couldn't comfortably read my own book.

Brother J said...

Ann, you clearly aren't familiar with the Buffalo Theory as explained by Cliff Clavin in Cheers:

"Well ya see, Norm, it's like this... 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. Excessive intake of alcohol, as we know, 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. That's why you always feel smarter after a few beers."

ErnieG said...

Dammit, Brother J, you beat me to it by two minutes.

Brother J said...

Sorry, ErnieG. You probably need to drink more. :-)

Matthew Sablan said...

... I feel shamed that I missed a chance to quote Cheers.

mrs. e said...

What Bob said.

Sorun said...

Alcohol alleviates boredom. Smart people get bored more easily.

Rocketeer said...

Smart people get bored more easily.

Actually, I've always posited that dumb people get bored more easily. Smart people are always able to find something interesting around them - or engage their own minds, internally - to stave off boredom.

The Crack Emcee said...

The fun of navigating thought while it's all gone sloppy-sloppy.

That's also the attraction of drugs.

Encountering it, otherwise, is tedious,...

Kevin said...

Smarter people lead more interesting lives. The more interesting lives lead to more social interaction with other leading interesting lives. More social interaction leads to more drinking.

mccullough said...

In other words, Muslims and Mormons aren't smart.

ALP said...

While working for an agency that did refugee resettlement with SE Asians, I picked up a few words of Laotian.

Can't remember the Laotian word, but their word for "depression" translates into English as: "thinks too much."

Maybe the intelligent person needs to "shut it off" once in a while to prevent depression.

JRoberts said...

People who drink just think they're smarter.

They also think they look better, sing better, tell funnier jokes, drive better, etc.

wildswan said...

But do better educated Asians drink more? Aren't Asians smarter than Londoners but less inclined to drink? How does that fit into the Pleistocene "just so" story Kanazawa tells?

Archie said...

A researcher named after a fake holiday -Kwanza- can't be trusted.

Alex said...

Liver disease?

DKWalser said...

I don't know how much Obama drinks, but I wish he'd drink a lot more.

n.n said...

... in moderation.

Christy said...

Don't think the correlation holds once you get into, you know, actually high IQs.

Mr Evilwrench said...

I think Smilin' Jack has hold of it. If smarter people get more money, I should be having trouble with too much money (IQ >165). Where's my smart people bonus? No, that doesn't hold. More interactions with interesting people? I have symptoms of ass burger among other things, and I am, for practical purposes, a hermit. Lose. At the expense of my liver, I surely do like to be drunk, but my gastroenterologist can't wrap his brain around my condition. He thinks I should be dead or in AA, but I have no identification with those people, nothing to learn from them nor teach them. I just stop and let my liver heal for a while.

Oso Negro said...

They drink more because they are unhappier.

Crazy Jane said...

ALP has it. Existential relief.

Illuninati said...

Obviously these studies are limited to a very narrow spectrum of the world's population.

For religious reason, Muslims at all IQ levels are not supposed to drink. Many conservative Christians of all IQ levels are also determined to limit their drinking because they believe drunkenness is wrong.

Jews including high IQ Jews are less prone to alcoholism because of genetics.
http://alcoholism.about.com/cs/genetics/a/blcah030307.htm
The same genetic trait also limits alcohol consumption among Asians including high IQ Asians.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14745297

SOJO said...

It gives you a break from your head AND makes your toes tingle.

Plus there are the aesthetic pleasures of stemware.

And isn't two glasses of wine a legal mental lubricant for sex; almost forgot that part.

Joe said...

My theory: the study is utter bullshit done to justify a salary and nothing more.

EDH said...

Why do I get the feeling this thesis was written on the back of a cocktail napkin?