Jul 18

That is one of the findings from data from the National Child Development Study in the United Kingdom and the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health in the United States.

Childhood intelligence, measured before the age of 16, was categorized in five cognitive classes, ranging from very dull, dull, normal, bright and very bright.

The Americans were revisited seven years later. The British youths, on the other hand, were followed in their 20s, 30s and 40s. Researchers measured their drinking habits as the participants became older.

More intelligent children in both studies grew up to drink alcohol more frequently and in greater quantities than less intelligent children. In the Brits case, very bright children grew up to consume nearly eight-tenths of a standard deviation more alcohol than their very dull cohorts.

Researchers controlled for demographic variablessuch as marital status, parents education, earnings, childhood social class and morethat may have also affected adult drinking. Still, the findings held true: Smarter kids were drinking more as adults.

So why do smarter kids end up drinking more? Hypotheses abound.

Psychology Today takes an evolutionary approach. They argue that drinkable alcohol is a relatively novel invention of 10,000 years ago. Our ancestors had previously gotten their alcohol kick through eating rotten fruits, so more intelligent humans may be more likely to choose modern alcoholic beverages.

Although increased alcohol consumption could be a reflection of exceptional brainpower, drinking more will certainly not make you any more intelligent than you already are.

Analysis by Liz Day

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