Intelligent people tend to be better behaved and less aggressive, research reveals.
Both boys and girls with higher IQs are less likely to be antisocial than those with lower IQs.
Boys who are not antisocial generally have IQs around 10 points higher.
Non-antisocial girls have IQs around 5 points higher than their antisocial peers.
High IQ is also linked to lower levels of aggression and drug abuse.
The results come from a group of over 1,000 children in England and Wales.
They were given tests of their IQ and externalising behaviour (aggression, antisocial behaviour etc.).
The study revealed that more intelligent children were less likely to exhibit antisocial behaviour.
The study’s authors write:
“Low IQ is a consistent risk factor for emergence and continuity of antisocial behavior across the life course in both prospective and cross-sectional studies, even when other relevant risk factors are statistically controlled.”
Genetic factors are likely important in the link, as well as situational factors, the authors write:
“…cognitive deficits might promote antisocial behavior if children with low IQs misunderstand rules, find it too difficult to negotiate conflict with words, find school frustrating, or become tracked with antisocial peers.”
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2003) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
The study was published in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology (Koenen et al., 2008).