It Turns Out Smart People Use Drugs


By Tony O'Neill

Sometimes surfing the Internet can leave you feeling pretty bad. Sarah Palin's tweets, the comments people leave under YouTube videos, and the recent fuss over Rebecca Black’s “Friday” can certainly give you the impression that life is pretty bleak in America circa 2011.

But then you stumble upon something like the following article, which has left me with a big, dumb grin on my face. London School of Economics evolutionary psychologist Satoshi Kanazawa has finally confirmed what I suspected all along: Intelligent people use more drugs.

In an article for Psychology Today the author of Why Beautiful People Have More Daughters (hey, I have a daughter! Beautiful and intelligent, why Mr. Kanazawa, you flatter me!) makes the link between high childhood IQ and a predisposition toward “novel” behaviors like drug taking: Given their extremely recent origin and thus evolutionary novelty, the Hypothesis would predict that more intelligent individuals are more likely to consume all types of psychoactive drugs than less intelligent individuals. Well, you could certainly say that I consumed all types of psychoactive drugs because they were novel.  In fact, I probably consumed so many of them that I think I may well have ventured into genius territory.

Kanazawa cites a UK study that shows

… more intelligent children in the United Kingdom are more likely to grow up to consume psychoactive drugs than less intelligent children.  Net of sex, religion, religiosity, marital status, number of children, education, earnings, depression, satisfaction with life, social class at birth, mother’s education, and father’s education, British children who are more intelligent before the age of 16 are more likely to consume psychoactive drugs at age 42 than less intelligent children.
Amongst American children, the findings are similar.

Kanazawa does go on to say:

The fact that the consumption of psychoactive drugs has largely negative health consequences and few (if any) benefits of any kind is immaterial to the Hypothesis.  It does not predict that more intelligent individuals are more likely to engage in healthy and beneficial behavior, only that they are more likely to engage in evolutionarily novel behavior.

But we’ll have none of that defeatist talk around here. So my fellow ex-juices, pill-poppers, junkies and crack aficionados rejoice--we may be missing a few more teeth than Joe Public, and we may have a harder time when the doctor wants to take a blood test (“No Doctor, I have no idea why my veins are so hard to find…”) but at least we can take heart in the knowledge that our IQ’s--as well as our epic consumption of various dangerous substances--set us apart.

Now if somebody could just explain to me how that notorious alcoholic coke fiend George W. Bush fits into this equation..?


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