Saturday, August 01, 2009

Owls might look smart, but night owls really are

Here's the conclusion from an interesting research article:

The Savanna–IQ Interaction Hypothesis suggests that more intelligent individuals may be more likely to acquire and espouse evolutionarily novel values and preferences than less intelligent individuals, while general intelligence may have no effect on the acquisition and espousal of evolutionarily familiar values and preferences. An earlier study (Kanazawa, 2010) has shown that more intelligent individuals are more likely to be liberal and atheist, and more intelligent men (but not women) are more likely to value sexual exclusivity, than their less intelligent counterparts. In this paper, we have extended the Hypothesis to circadian rhythms.

While studies show that there is some genetic component to individuals’ circadian rhythms (Hur, 2007), heritability of these phenotypes is far from 1.0 and thus there is room for individual choices and decisions. Survey of ethnographies of traditional societies shows that routine nocturnal activities were probably rare in the ancestral environment and are thus evolutionarily novel. The Savanna–IQ Interaction Hypothesis therefore predicts that more intelligent individuals are more likely to be nocturnal than less intelligent individuals.

Our analysis of Add Health data supports the prediction derived from the Hypothesis. Net of age, sex, race, marital status, parental status, education, earnings, religion, whether one is currently a student and the number of hours worked per week, childhood IQ significantly increases nocturnal behavior in early adulthood. More intelligent children are more likely to grow up to be nocturnal adults who go to bed late and wake up late on both weekdays and weekends (Kanazawa, S., Perina, K. Why night owls are more intelligent. Personality and Individual Differences. 2009).


  1. Anonymous4:46 PM

    ha! I knew my insomnia was for a reason (LOL).

  2. I've got a pretty bad case of insomnia as well. Over the counter sleeping pills don't do anything for it. I used to down a cup of bourbon in college, but that was before the night I nearly drank myself to death.

    How can a 2010 paper by Kanazawa be "earlier"? And why is anybody still citing him him except to debunk him?

  3. The Undiscovered Jew6:27 PM

    And why is anybody still citing him him except to debunk him?

    Isn't it obvious?

    He gets attention because he is great at presenting sociobiology in a way that appeals to the public. Look at how widely his comments about whether women have become more attractive were cited by the MSM. The American and British press (especially the British tabloids) always eats that stuff up without doing basic fact checking and Kanazawa knows it.

    Sure, he gets debunked all the time in peer reviewed journals. But few people read the reviews anyway so Kanazawa can get away with this shit.

    Personally, I consider this to be a good sign that sociobiology is almost ready for primetime.

    Once an intellectual movement or field starts attracting smart opportunists like Kanazawa, you know that field of study is ready to be popularized.

    Think of Kanazawa as the Michael Savage of evo psych.

  4. Anonymous8:32 PM

    The only thing over the counter that has ever worked for me is Tylenol PM. I've tried more natural solutions like melatonin but that does next to nothing. Two Tylenol PM's is almost like a mild dose of vicodin in the way it gives you a tingly sensation and makes you relax a little more.

  5. If you check the label, Tylenol PM just has Benadryl in it. My doctor told me years ago that Benadryl is a popular sleep aid for old people. My son was taking an expensive antihistamine for asthma before bed. I switched him to Benadryl. Funny, my son and husband are both very smart and night owls, without the Benadryl anyway.

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  7. Great information. I came across the same study. There are also other studies out there discussing night owl's intelligence, health, wealth, and creativity among other things. For more information see this article:

    Night Owls vs. Early Birds


    Looking For My Life

    Thanks again!

    - Aaron Wong

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Data: Do brains get you more sex?

Evolutionary psychologist Geoffrey posted the claim on Twitter recently that human cognitive abilities evolved to attract sexual partners.  ...