If you partied a little too hard in college (or perhaps still do), your superior intelligence could be to blame.
A large-scale study has found a correlation between above-average intelligence and illegal drug use among adults, helping to validate a theory previously posited by an evolutionary psychologist.
Researchers from Cardiff University and University College London studied data obtained in the 1970 British Cohort Study, which tracks roughly 15,000 people born between Apr. 5 and Apr. 11, 1970, according to the research report obtained by IBTimes. The data of roughly 8,000 subjects was evaluated for a possible correlation between high IQ scores and illegal drug use.
It's not what we thought we would find, lead author James White told The Atlantic.
The study found that subjects with above-average scores on childhood IQ tests were more likely to have used illegal drugs later in life. The results varied somewhat by gender and by type of drug: At age 30, women who scored high on an IQ test at age five were more likely to report having used marijuana and cocaine within the previous year; men who received high IQ scores at the same age were more likely to be amphetamine, ecstasy, and polydrug (three or more) users.
According to the study abstract, associations were stronger in women than in men and were independent from psychological distress in adolescence and life-course socioeconomic position.
The abstract also reports that a link between high IQ stores in childhood and high levels of alcohol intake had previously been established.
Last year, evolutionary psychologist Satoshi Kanazawa argued that intelligent people are more attracted to drugs because the mind-altering substances are evolutionary novelties. According to Kanazawa's Savanna- IQ Interaction Hypothesis, intelligence evolved to help humans adjust to new environmental stimuli. Because psychoactive drugs are relatively new evolutionary advances, smarter people are more likely to try them, even if doing so is not in their ultimate best interests.
People--scientists and civilians alike--often associate intelligence with positive life outcomes, Kanazawa wrote in a 2010 Psychology Today article. The fact that more intelligent individuals are more likely to consume alcohol, tobacco, and psychoactive drugs tampers [with] this universally positive view of intelligence and intelligent individuals. Intelligent people don't always do the right thing, only the evolutionarily novel thing.
White and co-author G. David Batty agree that illegal drugs [may be] better at fulfilling a desire for novelty and stimulation.
But parents of bright children should not (neccessarily) panic: Another research report obtained by the Atlantic found that drug users with above-average intelligence are able kick a drug addiction faster than people of lower intelligence. (Still, it's probably best not to tempt fate.)
And there's even better news for confirmed braniacs: The White and Batty study also revealed a lower rate of mortality in mid-to-late adulthood among those with high scores on childhood IQ tests. Though the mechanics underlying this effect are unclear, healthy lifestyle choices (illegal drug use notwithstanding) and socioeconomic advantages are possible factors.