People who are generous by nature have a higher IQ, research finds.
Generous people are unselfish and sometimes deny themselves so that others can have more.
Although generosity is not something people usually associate with intelligence, psychological research clearly shows a link.
Intelligent people may be more generous partly because they can afford it.
People with higher IQs generally have greater resources, or can expect to recover what they have given away later on.
The conclusions come from a study in which 96 people played games that involved either donating to others or keeping things for themselves.
The results revealed that intelligent people were more generous to others.
In contrast, those who kept more for themselves tended to be less intelligent.
The study’s authors used the results of SAT tests, which can be converted into approximate IQ scores.
“We find that subjects who perform better on the Math portion of the SAT [Scholastic Aptitude Test] are more generous in both the dictator game and the SVO [Social Value Orientation] measure.[…]
Our results involving SAT scores […] suggest that measures of cognitive ability, which are less sensitive to the intrinsic motivation of the subject, are positively related to generosity.”
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 Economic Behavior & Organization (Chen et al., 2013).