Worrying may be part of evolution. Along with intelligence, it is a beneficial trait according to a study by SUNY Downstate Medical Center and other institutions. Researchers found that high intelligence and worry both correlate with brain activity measured by the depletion of the nutrient choline in the subcortical white matter of the brain. This suggests that intelligence may have co-evolved with worry.
“While excessive worry is generally seen as a negative trait and high intelligence as a positive one, worry may cause our species to avoid dangerous situations, regardless of how remote a possibility they may be,” said Dr. Jeremy Coplan, MD, professor of psychiatry at SUNY. “In essence, worry may make people ‘take no chances,’ and such people may have higher survival rates. Thus, like intelligence, worry may confer a benefit upon the species.”
Patients with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) were compared with a healthy volunteer control group to assess the relationship among intelligence quotient (IQ), worry, and subcortical white matter metabolism of choline. In the control group of volunteers, high IQ was related to a lower degree of worry, but in those diagnosed with GAD, high IQ was associated with a greater degree of worry. The correlation between IQ and worry was significant in both the GAD group and the control group. But in the GAD group, the correlation was positive and in the control group it was negative.
Excessive worry tends to exist both in people with higher and lower intelligence, and less so in people with moderate intelligence.
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Originally published on Psyweb.com, Source: MedicalNewsToday, Frontiers in Evolutionary Neuroscience