Business Insider recently gave us 8 reasons to tell us that some behaviours and traits are linked with a higher intelligence. Just remember, correlation doesn’t equal causation. Doing drugs and buying a cat won’t make you smarter. But if you already have done those things without being told to… Well, those classes in one-day-school might’ve been on to something after all.
1. You’re the oldest child
We all know that science says the first born child is the most intelligent. As a first-born myself, I can confirm without a shadow of a doubt that I am the smartest in my family. It doesn’t look to be a genetic thing though, rather it is down to upbringing. According to a new study by Leipzig University, the first-born children get an IQ boost from having to teach their younger siblings. Receiving undivided attention also benefits the IQ.
2. You took music lessons
A 2011 study found that, after a month’s worth of music lessons, 90% of a sample of 4-to-6 year olds’ verbal intelligence rose. It would be interesting to see a follow-up study but replacing young children with adults of a range of ages. I know the saying goes “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” but it would be interesting to see if there is any correlation at all.
3. You don’t smoke
An Israeli study from 2010 found that, of a huge sample of 20,000 young men, the average 18-21 year-old smoker had an average IQ of 94 while the non-smoking average was 101. Simple as that.
4. You have a healthy weight
A 2006 French study confirmed that healthy bodies are indeed linked to a healthy mind. Obese subjects could recall only 44% of words in a vocabulary test while their slimmer counterparts could recall 56%.
5. You have a cat
In 2014, a study found that while ‘dog people’ were more outgoing, ‘cat people’ were more intelligent. It is possible this is because cat owners tended to be more introverted, meaning they prefer to spend time alone. This could convert into a desire to pursue more intellectual hobbies.
6. You’re left handed
Recent research connectes being left-handed with “divergent thinking”, a form of creativity in which prompts give you novel ideas. The study does warn, however, that their sample was restrcited to university students. Hence, the lower part of the “cognitive abilities spectrum” was excluded.
7. You’re tall
According to a Princeton study, “as early as age 3” – before school has a chance to alter anything – taller children perform significantly better on cognitive tests.
8. You’ve used not-strictly-legal-yet drugs
Honestly, this is really part of the list. A 2012 study found a link between a high IQ in childhood and the use of illegal drugs in adulthood. This suggests a correlation between a smart kid and an adoption of harmful behaviours. Why this is is still unclear, but it could possibly be due to feeling under-stimulated.