Why intelligent people may be more prone to drug abuse and staying up late

According to extensive research, the more intelligent you are, the more likely you are to be a night person and to abuse drugs.

A UK study, for example, followed approximately 7000 people born in 1958, from childhood to adulthood. When participants were 11 years of age, they were measured for cognitive ability. When they were 42, they answered questions about illegal drug use (e.g. cocaine, heroin, mushrooms).

The results showed that smarter participants were more prone to illegal drug use by mid-life – and this was true especially for women.

Other research studied the link between childhood IQ and habits of sleep among thousands of adolescents. Unsurprisingly, the smarter teens said they stayed up late and woke up late on weekdays as well as weekends.

Another study, of around 400 US Air Force staff, ended with similar results.

So what is the explanation for the link between intelligence, being a night owl, and doing drugs?

Scientists don’t have a clear answer, but Satoshi Kanazawa, an evolutionary psychologist and co-author of the study on adolescents mentioned above thinks it has to do with the “savanna-IQ interaction hypothesis.”

Smart people may be more inclined to stay up late.

Our cave-dwelling forefathers did not yet have access to modern alcohol or drugs, and they were most active during the day. So late-night events and drug-use are less intimidating for intelligent people, who aren’t bothered by unfamiliarity.

Kanazawa also helped develop the “savanna theory of happiness,” which could explain why smart people are happier spending less time with their friends. Again, caveman ancestors were used to being part of a tight community, but smart people today are better able to handle relative isolation (which is highly unhealthy for a person’s physical and mental well-being).

The savanna theory is only one potential explanation for these findings, which might not be true at all.

It is also worth mentioning that you should definitely stay away from drugs and sleepless nights just to make people think you’re smart. That is a wrong and dangerous idea!

If you found this article interesting, please share your thoughts and opinions with us in the comment section below. 

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