Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Are Night Owls Smarter?

File this under "things that make you go, 'Hmmm'":
An analysis of a large representative sample of young Americans confirms this prediction.  Net of a large number of social and demographic factors, more intelligent children grow up to be more nocturnal as adults than less intelligent children.  Compared to their less intelligent counterparts, more intelligent individuals go to bed later on weeknights (when they have to get up at a certain time the next day) and on weekends (when they don’t), and they wake up later on weekdays (but not on weekends, for which the positive effect of childhood intelligence on adult nocturnality is not statistically significant).  For example, those with a childhood IQ of less than 75 ("very dull") go to bed around 23:41 on weeknights in early adulthood, whereas those with a childhood IQ of over 125 ("very bright") go to bed around 00:29.
As the insomniac son of an insomniac father and the father of two night owl children, I have to say that the implications of this research appeal to my ego. Given the lost sleep I've experienced in sixty years, I must be a genius. (I'm definitely not!)

Two things keep me from saying that late-night people are more intelligent than younger people:

First, there's the fact that this research studied only younger people. What's the cumulative effect of all those sleep-deprived nights on one's intelligence? Not good, I would think.

Second, just anecdotally, taken as a whole, early risers I've known have seemed to be at least as intelligent as night owls. 

Whatever...I'm hitting the sack soon.

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