Booze=Brains mc2

I knew there was a reason why I drank. It’s ‘cos I’m very intelligent. Yes. Really. Honestly. It’s a scientific fact. Or a hypothesis anyway. That is just the same in my book.

It goes like this: The Savanna-IQ Interaction Hypothesis (hereafter “The Hypothesis”) suggests that less intelligent individuals have greater difficulty than more intelligent people with comprehending and dealing with evolutionarily novel entities and situations that did not exist in the ancestral environment.

Basically, thickies have trouble in dealing with new ideas and situations. Conversely, evolutionary psychology in the form of the Hypothesis would suggest that more intelligent people are better able to deal with new ideas and situations.

So applied to our personal tastes and values, this all means that more intelligent individuals are more likely than less intelligent individuals to acquire and espouse evolutionarily novel preferences and values.

This is where booze comes in.

Alcohol is evolutionary novel. The fermentation of alcohol for human consumption simply didn’t exist in Fred Flintstone’s day. It only arrived, in its present form, with the onset of agriculture some 10,000 years ago. So according to the Hypothesis, more intelligent people will drink more than less intelligent people.

I know what you’re thinking-yeah ok, but have you got a graph that demonstrates this, Tyson?

Since you asked. The following graph shows the association between childhood intelligence (grouped into five “cognitive classes”: “very dull” – IQ < 75; “dull” – 75 < IQ < 90; “normal” – 90 < IQ < 110; “bright” – 110 < IQ < 125; “very bright” – IQ > 125) and the latent factor for the frequency of alcohol consumption.

This data come from the National Child Development Study (NCDS) here in the UK and clearly shows a link between brainy brats and their likely future consumption of grog. The link is also present in US studies.

What’s impressive about this research is that it takes into account not only income and education, but childhood social class and parents’ education as well.

This suggests that it is not because more intelligent people occupy higher-paying, more important jobs that require them to socialize that they drink more. It appears to be their intelligence itself, rather than correlates of intelligence, that inclines them to drink more.

Hold on, I know what you’re thinking now. If they’re so bleeding brainy, why do they binge drink and get drunk when it has few, if any, potentially positive aspects?

Simple: The Hypothesis does not predict that more intelligent individuals are more likely to engage in healthy and beneficial behaviour. Oh no, it simply predicts that more intelligent individuals are more likely to engage in evolutionarily novel behaviour.

So there you go. We drink because we are intelligent. Fact.


Pythagoras said…
The proof to this hypothesis may be seen at any British Mensa Gathering (in the States they concentrate more on the food). Many hotels have laughed in derision and disbelief when warned in advance that they should lay in extra stock, then cried when the bar is drunk dry and everyone has decamped to the next nearest pub.
Penny said…
That explains why my red wine consumption is rising:)
Tandleman said…
Doesn't explain why Tyson is as daft as a brush though! (-;

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