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The Link Between IQ, Binge Drinking, and Hangovers

In What Does IQ Really Mean? we looked at what an IQ test actually measures and how accurately the resultant score reflects the ultimate life success of the individual.
While an IQ test certainly gives an indication of the gross level of intellectual ability of an individual, it cannot predict the life path of the person concerned.

However, there are some things that an IQ test can predict and one of them is the likelihood of suffering hangovers. Researchers at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland have discovered that IQ scores do more than separate geniuses from the rest of us. They also give an indication of how clever people are less likely to suffer from hangovers than those not so blessed in the grey matter department.

Scottish scientists report that smart people are less likely to go through repeated cycles of binge drinking followed by hangovers, thus avoiding the debilitating headaches, vomiting, nausea, dizziness, and sensitivity to light that characterize the classic hangover.

Dr. David Batty and his team studied the IQ tests of 11-year-old children collated in 1962 in the Scottish city of Aberdeen. These children, now aged in their early 50s, were assessed in a follow-up questionnaire as to their current drinking habits.

The most interesting finding of the study was that those 11-year-olds who scored highly on the 1962 IQ test showed a reduced risk of alcohol-induced hangovers once they had reached middle age. The 7000 participants in the survey displayed a clear outcome: those with the higher IQ scores had a lower prevalence of hangovers.

The researchers concluded that those participants with higher IQs suffered fewer “big night out” symptoms as they responded better to campaigns promoting sensible drinking than those with lower IQs.

I’d be interested in a study addressing socio-economic aspects of low-to-average IQs and drinking habits. Low IQs often equate to lower incomes, and lower quality of life which may, in turn, foster depression in susceptible individuals. However, the study by Batty and his colleagues does demonstrate one link between IQ level and one type of human behavior.

Although IQ is not by any means a fortune-telling aid that accurately predicts the future based on IQ scores, it certainly does provide useful insights into the likely habits, behaviors, and tendencies of a given group of individuals.


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