Five Unexpected Downsides of High Intelligence

I found this article on Tumblr (which was taken from here) and thought it was an interesting read. I know a lot of us here are very bright in one area or another, so I thought I would ask the question - how many of you identified with some of these as strongly as I did?

You know that phrase, "Ignorance is bliss"? There's a reason it's stuck around all these years. Because having the upper hand in intelligence might give you an advantage in some areas, like crossword puzzle solving and quantum physics-ing, but it also might just screw up your life forever. For instance, if you're smart ...

5. You’re Probably a Night Owl (which is bad!) - Recently, scientists discovered a quirky side effect to having a high IQ: You tend to stay up until later hours and get up later in the morning. These sleeping habits mean you’re also three times more likely to suffer the symptoms of depression, as well as being at higher risk for heart disease and suffer more arterial stiffness than those who go to bed early.

4. You’re Less Likely to Pass On Your Genes - A 2008 national census reported that women who had dropped out of high school had the most children on average. Research shows that countries with high national IQs tend to have lower childbirth rates in general compared with countries that can’t collectively tie their shoelaces together. But it’s not all bad news. There’s evidence that the highly educated get more enjoyment out of sex than the dumb jocks.

3. You’re More Likely to Lie - The problem with being the smartest guy in the room is that you usually know you’re the smartest guy in the room. You know you have an intellectual edge and can’t help but abuse it. IQ bestows the gift of deception.

2. You’re More Likely to Believe Bullshit - Smart people believe weird things because they are skilled at defending beliefs they arrived at for non-smart reasons.

1. You’re More Likely to be Self-Destructive - The thing is, the great minds are full of curiosity. Smart people are more likely to be drunks, and people who fall into the “very bright” category (IQs of 125 or greater) are more likely to drink excessively and binge drink.

Posted 9 years ago by LitaPie Subscriber! | Permalink


  • That's a neat article.  The thing I've noticed with extremely smart people is that they're more likely to have some mental illness.   I remember reading a study that said people who have higher intelligence in certain things like language and spacial intelligence are more likely to be depressed or OCD or have some other negative mental quirk and I also noticed a LOT of my intelligent friends have depression.  
    Posted 9 years ago by Homura Subscriber! | Permalink
  • Very interesting. I would analyze the different parts, but that could quickly turn into a "this part is dumb" argument, which could lead to making this another controversial thread. I will say that I agree with most of it.
    Posted 9 years ago by bored no more Subscriber! | Permalink
  • Madness and genius are two sides of the same quoin.
    Posted 9 years ago by Lilypad Subscriber! | Permalink
  • I've heard something about that too, Homura. And I've met a few people who seem to follow this correlation, and some who haven't. It's an interesting trend, and I'd maybe say there is some kind of unconscious compensation. There probably are more studies on this. LitaPie? You know this stuff. Heard of anything like that?
    Posted 9 years ago by Jia-pop Subscriber! | Permalink
  • I find the science of categorizing intelligence to be fallacious to say the least and pretty easy to apply to oneself according to how much self-esteem you happen to have in a determined moment. 
    I must say that these points are more logical than the average and made me smile :)
    I'm a gullible manic depressive who drinks far too much, lies a lot and stays up all night. I did however have 3 children, which goes to prove the fallacy
    Posted 9 years ago by Zira Subscriber! | Permalink
  • 2. You’re More Likely to Believe Bullshit  -  Well, I must be stupid, because I definitely do not believe that particular bullshit.  (Michelle Bachmann supporter = genius?)
    Posted 9 years ago by Hawkwell Subscriber! | Permalink
  • Another point:
    -1. You are more likely to be slightly insane-r than your peers.
    Serious. I hang around a bunch of "nerds", and they're all every bit as nuts as I am. Which is saying a lot.
    Posted 9 years ago by KitkatCat Subscriber! | Permalink
  • I did some digging and found a few more articles about intelligence:

    1. Firstborns are more likely to have higher IQs. Sweet!
    2. IQ tests may not actually measure intelligence, but rather motivation to do well.
    3. Research suggests that Liberal, Atheist, Monogamous people have higher intelligence.

    And of course there is the divide between book smarts and street smarts. the ability to carefully analyze a situation vs. the ability to think on one's feet. IQ may not measure intelligence, but I like knowing my score anyway, because it boosts my self esteem (unless I compare with others).

    All research is subject to scrutiny, but these are more food for thought.
    Posted 9 years ago by bored no more Subscriber! | Permalink
  • "And of course there is the divide between book smarts and street smarts."

    I'll second that!  I have a very respectable IQ and was the top of everything (except languages) in school, but just about anybody can out-think me on the street.  Trust me on this:  you do not want me being the one watching your back in a hairy situation.  I'm the kind of guy who always comes up with the clever come-back an hour or two later.
    Posted 9 years ago by Hawkwell Subscriber! | Permalink
  • ...But Hawkwell's the man you want to hang with for delicious homegrown veggies or repairing ancient homes...

    Just sayin'.
    Posted 9 years ago by jasbo Subscriber! | Permalink
  • 4. You’re Less Likely to Pass On Your Genes - This was the premise for Mike Judge's 2006 movie, Idiocracy. Smart people don't reproduce as much and extrapolated into the future, the whole world has become completely dumb. A completely average IQ guy is put in cryo in the present and when he wakes up in the future, he's the smartest man in the world. Really funny movie and some of the dumb things you see in current events make you think "Oh no, Idiocracy."
    Posted 9 years ago by SleepyAce Subscriber! | Permalink
  • Hmm. 5 - Definitely applies.
    4. I hope not, but it's not trending well. There's even a song by Green Day - Paranoia with the verse "Been around the world and found that only stupid people are breeding. The cretins cloning and feeding
    And I don't even own a TV."
    3. I'm not known for being deceptive. I have a such a strong, adverse, internal reaction to a deliberate and knowing lie that it will even show most times. I can lie briefly, but I can't sustain it.
    2. I've bought into bullshit when I was younger, and have become initially excited and less critical of my own ideas early on (I'm pretty high strung), but this is not a lasting state.
    1. Interestingly there is a history of high intelligence and substance abuse in my family, but I don't have any personal history of such.

    Just for the record: My IQ averages around 135 though I've peaked on occasion at 160 or so.
    Posted 9 years ago by Fokian Fool Subscriber! | Permalink
  • The issue of "those 'other' people are having more children than we are" has been talked about for centuries. Originally it was a class issue, where the poor were having too many children. 

    In the early 1900s, when intelligence was first being measured, this same idea lead to the eugenics movement, in which many less intelligent people were sterilized without their consent. That made sure they couldn't pass on their genes.   The hideous outcome of this belief system was seen when Hitler started killing people rather than just sterilizing them. 

    The percentage of general population with a "genius" level IQ  has not seemed to have changed in the past 100 years.  So, apparently, the world as a whole is not getting dumber because smart people aren't having children.  There seem to be an equivalent number of very, very smart. people born to non-geniuses.  Genes aren't the only thing that create geniuses.
    Posted 9 years ago by WindBorn Subscriber! | Permalink
  • @Fokian- I think that's "Flag Pole Sitta" by Harvey Danger.
    Posted 9 years ago by Djabriil Subscriber! | Permalink