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Alcohol consumption and IQ

Alcohol consumption and IQ
Alcohol consumption and IQ are positively correlated

A study published in 2010 has suggested that brighter children in the UK and the US grow up to drink more alcohol. There is a very strong monotonic association between childhood intelligence (measured before the age of 16) and the frequency of alcohol consumption in their 20s, 30s and 40s. Very bright British children (with IQs > 125) grow up drinking nearly one full standard deviation more alcohol than their very dull classmates (with IQs < 75). So there is a clear association between alcohol consumption and IQ. The author concludes that in early humans, alcohol consumption would be accidental and achieved by consuming fermented fruits. So the liquid form of it can be traced back less than 10,000 years is therefore considered evolutionary novel. Because of this, it is posited that more intelligent humans would tend to seek its liquid consumption because doing so is evolutionary novel.

A recent study by the University of Illinois in Chicago also found a link between alcohol consumption and IQ, or at least cognitive function. Specifically, men who drank the equivalent of two pints of beer were found to be better at solving brain teasers and puzzles than their teetotal counterparts. The study found that men with a blood-alcohol level of 0.07% or higher solved 40% more problems than the sober control group and took 12 seconds to complete the task compared to 15.5 seconds for the sober group.  The study found that men who drank a moderate amount of alcohol performed worse in tasks involving working memory but significantly better in creative problem solving.

A third study from the London School of Economics also found that women who graduated from college were more likely to admit daily drinking.

Alcohol consumption and IQ are related. So what should you do about it?

Despite what appears to be a clear relationship between alcohol consumption and IQ, is it not clear whether drinking alcohol can increase IQ. In fact, binge drinking can have disastrous consequences on the brain that are likely to adversely affect neurological functions including IQ.

One thing is for sure, if the smartest among us tend to drink more, it is probably OK to consume moderate amounts of alcohol in the context of a healthy diet and overall lifestyle. Who knows? Your most creative moments may appear after a glass of wine or a beer (or two).

If you want to test the results yourself, you can take an IQ test here, and see whether you score improves after a beer or two. CLICK HERE