People who feel happier tend to have a higher IQ, studies find.
In fact, experiencing positive emotions, feeling lively and wide awake all predict higher intelligence.
The idea that more intelligent people tend to be grumpy or unhappy is probably not true, on average.
Part of this link between intelligence and happiness may be down to life circumstances.
More intelligent people tend to be better off, have higher levels of education and consequently have better jobs.
The findings come from a survey of 6,870 people who were given tests of happiness and IQ.
The results showed that people with higher IQs (120-129) were happier than those with lower IQs (70-99).
The average IQ across the whole population is 100.
The study’s authors write:
“In this large nationally representative study, we found that IQ is associated with self-reported happiness, which provides support for our hypothesis.
Levels of happiness were lowest in the lower IQ groups and highest in the higher IQ groups.”
People with higher IQs tend to have better health, the study also found.
Poor health may be linked to low IQ due to lower learning abilities, the study’s authors write:
“One study suggests that people with lower IQ are more
likely to experience health problems because of a reduced
propensity to learn, reason and problem-solve, and because of difficulties in adhering to complex treatments, which often require following detailed instructions, and self-monitoring.”
Another study has shown that stable happiness is also a sign of higher IQ.
People with higher IQs are just as happy at 31-years-old as they are at 51.
More intelligent people experience fewer drops in their happiness over the years.
In contrast, the happiness of people with lower IQs is not just lower overall, but also goes up and down more over the years.
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 Psychological Medicine (Ali et al., 2013).