Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Gay men are the smartest: I have long suspected that gay men are, on average, smarter than straights. This impression has come from several different places, but perhaps it has been sharpest when reading about English intellectual elites (e.g., Wilde, Forster, Keynes, Auden). The pattern is weaker for lesbians but seems plausible. The General Social Survey asked 8,500 people about sexual orientation and also gave them a vocabulary test, which is a rough measure of IQ. Here are the results:

Mean score (out of 10) on vocab test:
Gay men 6.67
Lesbians 6.55
Straight women 6.20
Straight men 6.10
Bisexual women 5.76
Bisexual men 5.38

With a standard deviation of roughly 2, gay men are clearly smarter (at least in verbal IQ) than their hetero counterparts, but the gap is not as big as, say, between Jews and non-Jews. (Jews averaged 7.65 on this test). Lesbians also outscore straight women, and as we have seen with other indicators of functioning, bisexual women and especially men fall to the bottom. While homosexuality does not seem to indicate maladjustment, bisexuality does.

Now it is possible that smarter people may reject convention more often than others and select themselves into homosexuality, but perhaps there is some other mechanism here. Perhaps homosexuals are drawn to environments that are more accepting of them which also happen to be rich verbally. One might argue that homosexuals enjoy the female advantage in verbal ability, but this must also apply to lesbians who have a high average, and both of these groups surpass straight females by quite a bit. Perhaps it's more self-selection for lesbians, and hyper-femaleness for gay men. Gay achievement might be explained by a fortunate combination of male competitive drive with female verbal fluency. Other ideas?

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