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Sunday, November 20, 2011

IQ AND HAPPINESS

A couple of days ago a friend and I were discussing the afterlife, and she made a bold statement that smart people tended not to believe, while dumb people did.  She equated herself with the dumb group and did believe.  I don't think she was joking.  Well, that got me Googling, and it does turn out that smarter people are less religious.  If you click on that link, you'll also see that lower income individuals are more religious.

I've never thought about God and the afterlife in this manner, but going on, I noticed this morning an article that linked high IQ kids with greater drug use.  Apparently, smarter people tend to fulfill a desire for novelty and stimulation through usage.  This then got me interested in how IQ affected life in general, as for example, it now seems to be medically confirmed that those with higher IQs live longer.  Contrary to the use of drugs above, smarter people smoked and drank (alcohol) less, while exercising more and following a healthier diet.

How does one get a higher IQ?  I've thought most of this had to do with genetics, but a good diet during childhood, apparently, also  helps.  In some countries IQs are improving by 3 points/decade, with higher performances in the Netherlands and Israel.  The average Dutch IQ jumped 20 points from 1952 to 1982.  Curious, with reason, that while Americans were the tallest for 200 years, Europeans, especially the Dutch, are now taller.  At the time of World War II, they were shorter than Americans.  Today, us males (compared to the Dutch) are three inches shorter and females 4 inches less.  Much of this is said to be related to better diets in Europe, but recent immigration might be a factor here.  How many Japanese, Chinese, India Indian and Hispanics are in the National Football League?  Click here to see the difference in heights by country.

Incidentally, all signs point to men having a higher IQ than women (103 versus 101).  The averages are generally similar until the age of 15, after which males get "smarter."  So your IQ must change with age.  Also, there are eight times more males than females with IQs exceeding 145.  This same author also says  that the average man's IQ is 5 points higher than that of a woman.  Maybe Lawrence Summers (forced to resign as president of Harvard after saying men are better than women at certain jobs, joined the Obama Administration, then went back to teach at Harvard) should be reinstated as president, who is currently female.  There are some arguments for female supremacy, but not many.  Let's see if these statements can draw any comment.

Certainly, the environment can have a huge effect, like family upbringing, culture and schooling.  For example, a child loses 6 points/year out of school.  As I'm trying to keep this short, should you want to know more details about IQ, click on that link.  An interesting point, from that article is that in the U.S., Chinese and Japanese ethnicities do NOT succeed because of intelligence.  It has more to do with motivation.  And, boy, shades of Nobel Laureate William Shockley on race, intelligence and eugenics, but the average black IQ is 15 points below that of Whites, but recent trends indicate a narrowing of this gap.  Then there are studies that both discredit and reinforce the above, at the same time:


So are smarter people less happy?  Most writings sense this is so.  But some don't.  Charles de Gaull thought "happy people were idiots."  Well, the jury is still out.  There might be no relationship between IQ and happiness.  There are a lot of dumb unhappy people and smart happy ones.  And vice versa.  In any case, if I were you, I'd try to be as happy as possible, for you'll live longer.




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