Sometimes you bump into research and say “yeah! that’s me!”
That was my reaction when I bumped into an article in Psychology Today entitled “Intelligence: the Evolution of Night Owls“.
You can read the entire article for yourself, but here’s a choice quote:
“Because the nocturnal lifestyle allowed by electricity didn’t exist 10,000 years ago, we must now rely on general intelligence to override our early-to-bed instincts. So those with more of it stay up later.”
This is likely to be correlational research, that is, you survey people and ask them for IQ and preferred or typical bed time, then calculate the relationship between smarts and bed time. Smarter people stay up later? Okay, but what might that mean?
The researcher, Satoshi Kanazawa, a psychologist at The London School of Economics and Political Science, obviously argues that it’s because people are smart that they stay up later, but as usual with qualitative research, I can come up with a half-dozen alternative explanations.
But I don’t want to.
That’s right, I usually go to bed after midnight and actually get to sleep around 12.30 or so every night, or later if there’s a distraction of any sort. Therefore, that must be a sign of profound intelligence, right?
But what do you think? Do smarter people go to bed early, as Ben Franklin suggested in his Poor Richard’s Almanac, or are they night owls, as Kanazawa proposes in his research?