If there’s anything to make a self imposed Saturday headache more bearable, then it’s this: a study has correlated intelligence with alcohol intake – and now your hangover doesn’t feel so stupid.
You might want to save a bookmark on this page or print it off for future reference. In fact, that’s what I’m going to do once I’ve finished writing this because I’ve got a review next week.
While it may sometimes feel like you’ve been drinking for way too long, it turns out the practise of ‘pinting’ has only been around for the last eight-to-10,000 years or so.
The most common forms of alcohol in beer and wine require a shed load of grains or grapes to be produced, so this could only have happened after the advent of agriculture.
Archaeological evidence dates the beer and wine’s origins to Mesopotamia, around 6,000 BC, and the advent of spirits to the Middle East or China around 700 AD.
Psychology Today posits the human consumption of alcohol ‘probably originates from frugivory’, the consumption of fruits and fermentation of sugars by yeast naturally present in overripe and decaying fruits produces ethanol which is an intoxicant. Which probably explains why your pillow smells like that after a heavy session.
‘Where does intelligence come in to all this?’ I hear you ask. Well, like the piecing together of the previous night’s events, it takes a little bit of lateral thinking to piece together 10 millennia of humanity’s lash.
The hypothesis goes, because the substance and method of consumption are evolutionarily novel – drinking something to get a buzz basically – those with higher intelligence may be more likely to prefer drinking modern alcoholic beverages than their less intelligent counterparts.
In line with this idea, studies have found more intelligent children in the United Kingdom and United States grow up to consume alcohol more frequently.
Here’s something to screenshot and share with your concerned colleagues:
Controlling for a large number of demographic variables, such as sex, race, ethnicity, religion, marital status, number of children, education, earnings, depression, satisfaction with life, frequency of socialization with friends, number of recent sex partners, childhood social class, mother’s education, and father’s education, more intelligent children grow up to drink more alcohol in the UK and the US.
…there is a clear monotonic association between childhood intelligence and the quantity of adult alcohol consumption. ‘Very bright’ British children grow up to consume nearly eight-tenths of a standard deviation more alcohol than their ‘very dull’ classmates.
In short, the greater the childhood intelligence, the greater the alcohol intake later in life. The writers also point out that it’s not a matter of more intelligent people being in higher-paying, more important jobs that require socialising with associates. ‘It appears to be their intelligence itself, rather than correlates of intelligence, that inclines them to drink more.’
However, smarty pants, binge drinking is not good for your health and it’s not so clever to destroy yourself from having too much fun.
While intelligence may lead people to be more inclined to to try novel activities the hypothesis does not predict more intelligent individuals are more likely to engage in healthy and beneficial behaviour. So it’s on you to go to the gym or balance out your pint and kebab evening with something a bit healthier the next day.
But of course, don’t take my word for it, I’m not a scientist, so take whatever I say with a pinch of salt and a bite of lime. And please drink responsibly.
If you want to discuss any issues relating to alcohol in confidence contact Drinkline on 0300 123 1110 for advice and support.
Tim Horner is a sub-editor at UNILAD. He graduated with a BA Journalism from University College Falmouth before most his colleagues were born. A previous editor of adult mags, he now enjoys bringing the tone down in the viral news sector.