We're sure that at some point, someone has told you that you can't get anywhere without an education, and for the most part, they're right. And you're much more likely to pursue that education if you're starting out with a high IQ. According to renowned intelligenceologists who painstakingly measured every goddamn thing that you can associate with IQ, test scores were "the best single predictor of an individual's years of education."
Though some measurements were admittedly questionable.
Why? Well, their theory goes that smarter students do better in school (Cracked breaks new ground yet again!), which leads to more encouragement from teachers and parents, which in turn leads to more motivation to stay in school, then yadda yadda yadda, bingo-bango, master's degree in economics!
So What's the Problem?
It turns out that all this book learnin' is teaching you more than just the Pythagorean theorem -- it's also making it easier for you to believe some laughably wrong and even seriously weird stuff.
One problem is that education leads to one overall inaccurate belief: You think you're smarter than you are. Three studies have found that people who fall for investment scams are better-educated than the average person but don't seek advice because they think they're immune to making mistakes. In one study, researchers found that 94 percent of college professors think their work is superior to their peers'. These fellows fail to realize that intelligence doesn't always translate to real-world ability, and thus they tend to overestimate the quality of their work.
Whoa! Sure is getting crowded at the smart end of the bell curve. Right, guys?
It seems to go back to the old saying about how the wisest man is the one who realizes he knows nothing. Or, as Michael Shermer, the author of Why People Believe Weird Things, puts it: "Smart people believe weird things because they are skilled at defending beliefs they arrived at for non-smart reasons."
That's why the more education you get, the more likely you are to believe in, say, ghosts and the supernatural. One study found that 23 percent of college freshman believed in the paranormal, compared with 31 percent of seniors and 34 percent of graduate students. Which leads us to wonder ... what the fuck are schools teaching these days?
On one hand, it seems like the smarter you are, the greater your ability to know the dangers of, say, shooting heroin. So self-destructive habits are traits of the low-class and stupid, right? Eh, not really...
The thing is, the great minds have something in common with proverbial death-prone kitties: curiosity. Researchers have finally begun to understand the link between curiosity and intelligence on the molecular level, thanks to scientists from the University of Toronto and Mount Sinai Hospital who discovered a protein in an under-explored part of the brain that controls both traits.
It's always in the last place you look.
Makes sense. Weird shit like monkey-powered time machines can be invented only by people with enough brain smarts to make them work and enough curiosity to want to see such awesomeness in the first place.
So What's the Problem?
Extra-curious people are also extra-likely to be substance abusers.
British scientists published the results of a long-term study showing that smart people were more likely to be drunks. People who fell into the "very bright" category (IQs of 125 or greater) were not only more likely to experiment with alcohol but also were more likely to drink excessively and binge drink than their dimwitted counterparts.
These men are living, breathing supercomputers.
And yeah, they pretty much found the same link between high intelligence and psychoactive drug use. It also turns out that intelligent people are much more likely to indulge in illicit substances such as marijuana, Ecstasy, cocaine and heroin. The smarter you are, the more likely you are to be tripping balls at any given moment.
"Duuuuude. We should totally rent The Wall tonight!"
As for why, remember when we said earlier that smart people's brains seek out novelty and thus are the first to experiment with any new habit? Well, one theory explaining the link between substance abuse and intelligence is that both alcohol and drugs are novel substances, in evolutionary terms. Humans have been consuming alcohol for only about 10,000 years, and the earliest recorded drug was only 5,000 years ago. So when something is novel, the curiouser and most intelligent among us are more likely to want to try it out.
You know. For science.
You don't need to be smart. Just buy our book and we'll get your back.
To find out why you're a terrible person, check out 6 Weird Things That Influence Bad Behavior More Than Laws. And find out why grandpa's past are hiked up so high in 6 Obnoxious Old People Habits (Explained by Science).
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