If you like kicking back after a long day at work with a glass (or three) of wine or getting hammered with your girls on the weekend, you’re in luck. While the hangovers are brutal, a recent study suggests that the more you drink, the more intelligent you are.
Drinking is a relatively new invention. According to a study performed by evolutionary psychologist Satoshi Kanazawa, smarter people are lured by the novelty of modern alcoholic beverages. While alcohol of some sort has been around for millennia, it was mostly in the form of fermented beverages like wine. Actual alcohol production with ethanol higher than 5% is super new, so intelligent people are intrigued.
Smart people begin drinking earlier and more than their less intelligent counterparts. “The hypothesis would therefore predict that more intelligent individuals may be more likely to prefer drinking modern alcoholic beverages (beer, wine, and distilled spirits) than less intelligent individuals, because the substance and the method of consumption are both evolutionary novel,” Kanazawa wrote. He added that his study confirmed that “more intelligent children, both in the United Kingdom and the United States, grow up to consume alcohol more frequently and in greater quantities than less intelligent children.”
Unfortunately, smart people are also more likely to binge drink. There’s no good that comes from excessive alcohol consumption. While it might seem fun at the moment, it can result in dehydration, terrible hangovers, headaches, liver damage, and in extreme cases even death. The fact that smart people tend to engage in more novel behaviors, as per the study, doesn’t make it a good thing.
In some ways, drinking alcohol can make you (seem) smarter. It’s not going to help you memorize the works of Shakespeare or allow you to become a math whiz, but there has been some evidence that drinking can “clear brain waste” making you feel a whole lot smarter. Whether or not you actually are is another question. There’s also research from Loyola University that claims people who drink are 23% less likely to develop Alzheimer’s.
Bottom line? Use your head. Drinking doesn’t automatically make you smart just as not drinking doesn’t automatically make you stupid. If you like to drink, do so in moderation and avoid doing it to excess. If you’re not that into alcohol, that’s great too. You can still be a smartypants without booze, we promise.
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