Tuesday, January 24, 2012

IQ and drug use

New from the journal Intelligence:
One motivation for trying recreational drugs is the desire for novel experiences. More intelligent people tend to value novelty more highly and may therefore be more likely to have tried recreational drugs. Using data from a national survey, it is shown that intelligence tends to be positively related to the probabilities of having tried alcohol, marijuana, cocaine and several other recreational drugs. Evidence is also presented that those relationships typically disappear or change sign at high levels of intelligence. These patterns persist after accounting for a wide range of personal characteristics.

In addition to greater openness, the results point to hedonism among smart people. The authors speculate that drug use drops among those with the highest IQs because this is a rare trait that may be socially isolating (there is a strong social component to the consumption of drugs).

15 comments:

Jim Bowery said...

It would be interesting to see self-medication data. By self-medication I mean illicit acquisition of drugs of verified pharmaceutical grade.

Anonymous said...

Using data from a national survey, it is shown that intelligence tends to be positively related to the probabilities of having tried alcohol, marijuana, cocaine and several other recreational drugs. Evidence is also presented that those relationships typically disappear or change sign at high levels of intelligence.


Sounds like the writer of this piece was not terribly intelligent, give that the second sentence directly contradicts the first.

And it's hard to take seriously the implicit claim that blacks, Hispanics, and low IQ whites take less recreational drugs than the average.

SFG said...

"Sounds like the writer of this piece was not terribly intelligent, give that the second sentence directly contradicts the first."

Naaah, there are plenty of variables that look like an upside-down U. High in the middle, low at the ends.

Anonymous said...

there are plenty of variables that look like an upside-down U. High in the middle, low at the ends.



Can you mention some of them then? I can't think of any variable where the high and low IQ are alike, and different from the middle.

Having lived among poor whites and blacks, and been a poor white myself at one point, the idea that they use drugs less than the middle-class is ludicrous.

These long-term studies always have the problem of selection bias. By definition people at the bottom don't participate in them. Doing so requires a degree of conscientiousness which they do not possess.

Jim Bowery said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jim Bowery said...

Once there were 3 classes of birds of a feather: Dumb birds, Smart birds and Genius birds. There was also a genius bird of a different feather hanging around. All summer the genius bird of a different feather went around to the smart birds of a feather telling them how ridiculous is was to fly south for the winter -- that these atavistic instincts were a terrible legacy from "the bad old days" and gave very sophisticated-sounding arguments that the smart birds of a feather couldn't quite understand but understood quite well that they'd better pretend to understand lest they be accused of being dumb birds. Fall cometh. The dumb birds fly south to the derision of the smart birds. The genius birds of a feather think, "I've heard the arguments about flying south for the winter being only for dumb birds, but where really do these feelings come from? Could they have survival value? Could the genius bird of a different feather have a conflict of interest?" Even before thinking the answers through, the mere doubts raised were sufficient to motivate flying south. The smart birds of a feather, hearing these doubts raised by the genius birds of a feather proceeded to attack them as "dumb birds". They felt superior to the genius birds of a feather. Some genius birds of a feather were even injured enough to stop them from being able to fly south.

Winter hits. The smart birds of a feather die. The injured genius birds of a feather die. The genius birds of a different feather turn out to have an adaptation to cold weather. Spring comes. An evolutionary dynamic reveals itself...

Anonymous said...

Jim, not only does that address other anon's inane comment but it is a valid allegory for the main topic. Except paradoxically, "flying south" is analogous to "doing drugs"!

Jim Bowery said...

Actually, since it is the dumb birds and the genius birds of a feather who fly south, flying south is analogous to not doing drugs (under the model that highest and lowest IQ don't do drugs -- which doesn't really hold that well with the actual data but I'm not going to hold a general principle hostage to that discussion).

Jehu said...

Political and Social success peak around 120-130 IQ, the region I term the 'Second Sigma'. My observation is a lot of stuff peaks there---right around 2 sigmas, high enough to be very 'something' but not an extreme outlier. I've noticed that physical strength peaks close to there in terms of its ability to make you more attractive to women also (around the 180-220 or so military press level). Apparently more women go for a man who can pick them up and toss them around with ease moreso than the guys who can break them like a twig.

Anonymous said...

not only does that address other anon's inane comment


It doesn't address anything which anyone has said.


is a valid allegory for the main topic. Except paradoxically, "flying south" is analogous to "doing drugs"!


So it is a "valid allegory", which is, paradoxically, wrong?

There are (paradoxically!) some very unintelligent people commenting on these HBD blogs.

Jim Bowery said...

Jehu wrote: "Political and Social success peak around 120-130 IQ, the region I term the 'Second Sigma'."

Cites? I can believe this is the case since when you get much above this you are either attacked by them or you are pulling the strings on them to attack.

Jehu said...

Jim,
Looking at the various IQs of the various presidents of the US, you'll see most of them are in that range. Kerry and Bush II, for instance, are documented on their military IQ tests in exactly that band (120-125, was on Steve Sailer's blog some time ago). I suspect that Obama is also. It is also a well known finding that communication breaks down rapidly after a 2 sigma gap between leader and follower. JFK I believe was 119.

Anthony said...

Perhaps at higher IQ, the future time orientation (desire to avoid consequences) outweighs the desire for novelty.

I was the smartest of my high-school social group, and while I tried marijuana a few times, that (and alcohol) were the only drugs I tried, while my friends all tried cocaine and at least one psychedelic (LSD or psilocybin), and were heavier pot-users than I was.

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