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Is There a Relationship Between Intelligence and a Love of Alcohol?

These kids must be brilliant.

These kids must be brilliant.

Apparently so, according to two recent studies that followed American and British children.  The findings of the National Child Development Study in the U.K. and the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health in the U.S. declare that the “more intelligent children in both studies grew up to drink alcohol more frequently and in greater quantities than less intelligent children.” 

Looks like grade A students are more likely to end up in AA as adults.

Discovery News notes that the “researchers controlled for demographic variables — such as marital status, parents’ education, earnings, childhood social class and more — that may have also affected adult drinking,” and still, “the findings held true: Smarter kids were drinking more as adults.”

The Week showcases several opinions about why smarty-pants people like to get poop-faced.  The perspective I’m most inclined to agree with comes courtesy of Food & Wine blogger, Greg B., who says, “Smart people booze so we can tolerate everyone else” and that “Creative people tend to harbor some sort of desire for mind-altering states.”  (Raises hand.)  But that’s just it – personally, I don’t drink in order to be able to deal with other people – I drink to be able to deal with myself.  I think smart people with over-active brains tend to want to shut them down a little bit, to the extent that two glasses of wine or beer does.  (After all, getting totally wasted really isn’t that smart, is it?)

But what of the stereotype of the country bumpkin who is drunk all day, (unironically) covered in crushed cans of PBR?  My theory about him, and those real-life people like him, are that they are just unsung geniuses dealing with the frustration of being an intelligent person who was never given the opportunity to strut their stuff.  We see this archetype in urban centers as well, in the rapper who is able to propel himself out of the ghetto, having not had access to quality education, by becoming the face of – what else? – a fancy liquor.  That smart people like to be drunk makes sense, because people who don’t constantly over-analyze tend to float through life a bit more unencumbered than those of us who continually rack our brains.  Happiness may not be found in a bottle, but sleep sometimes is.  (Just ask any baby.)

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