Enjoying good mental health is a sign of higher intelligence, a recent genetic analysis of over half-a-million people finds.
People who are intelligent are 30 percent less likely to suffer from depression.
The findings come from a study probing the connection between intelligence and genetics.
The researchers also found that smarter people are likely to live longer and are at a lower risk of cancer.
Indeed, higher intelligence and health go together.
More intelligent people even have faster reaction times.
The results come from a study utilising a genetic analysis of 630,555 people of all ages.
The results showed that cognitive ability was linked to 148 different locations along the genome.
Dr Gail Davies, the study’s first author, said:
“This study, the largest genetic study of cognitive function, has identified many genetic differences that contribute to the heritability of thinking skills.
The discovery of shared genetic effects on health outcomes and brain structure provides a foundation for exploring the mechanisms by which these differences influence thinking skills throughout a lifetime.”
One disadvantage of intelligence, though, is that people with high IQs are 30 percent more likely to be short-sighted.
Pinning down the connections between intelligence and genes has been difficult, explained Professor Ian Deary, who led the study:
“Less than a decade ago we were searching for genes related to intelligence with about 3,000 participants, and we found almost nothing.
Now with 100 times that number of participants, and with more than 200 scientists working together, we have discovered almost 150 genetic regions that are related to how clever people are.
One thing we know from these results is that good thinking skills are a part of good health overall.”
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 Nature Communications (Davies et al., 2018).