In the News: Are Lazy People Actually Smarter?

New research suggests that clever people tend to be less active

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Most of us will have been called 'lazy' at some point in our lives: reprimanded for wiling away the hours on the sofa or in bed, neglecting chores and putting off work simply because we 'can't be bothered'. Well, it now appears that there's a good excuse for such actions (or, rather, lack of action).

New research, published in the Journal of Health Psychology, has suggested that laziness might actually be a sign of high intelligence, while people who are more active tend not to be as clever. They say this is because people with a high IQ get bored less easily, leading to them spending more time thinking, as opposed to doing. 

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Researchers from the Florida Gulf Coast University studied a group of 60 college students (so not a huge study) asking them to take an online test in order to discern which participants expressed a strong desire to think a lot and which participants preferred to avoid mentally taxing tasks.

The test used was a 30-year-old cognition test called the 'Need for Cognition', and asked students to rate how strongly they agreed with statements such as ' I really enjoy a task that involves coming up with new solutions to problems' and 'I only think as hard as I have to'.

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Having established 30 'thinkers' and 30 'non-thinkers', researchers then gave those taking part in the test an accelerometer to wear on their wrists for seven days, which measured how physically active they were during the week. The results showed that – from Monday to Friday – the 'thinking' group were far less active than their 'non-thinking' counterparts. However, no significant difference was found on weekends.


Despite this link between laziness and cleverness, the cons of being idle still outweigh the pros. Study lead Todd McElroy explained this, emphasizing the importance of leading an active lifestyle no matter what your IQ might be. According to the British Psychological Society, he said:


Other signs of intelligence

It seems that everything from your mother's breast milk to the size of your waistline is said to influence your intelligence - and there have been a fair few studies linking certain lifestyle choices and traits to increased brain power. While these should all be taken with a pinch of salt, they could be handy backup when trying to prove your brainbox abilities...

1. You don't smoke 

Back in 2010, an Israeli study compared the IQ and smoking status of 20,000 young men. The results indicated that the IQ scores were lower in adolescent males who smoked when compared to those who didn't, with an average score of 94 and 101 respectively. Additionally, in sibling sets, non-smoking brothers were found to be smarter. 

2. You have a cat 

A 2014 study, presented at the annual Association for Psychological Science meeting, found that 'cat people' tended to perform better on intelligence tests. Having said that, the same research showed people who identify as 'dog people' were more outgoing and lively. A tenuous link can be drawn here to the laziness findings, as those with a dog tend to be more active (due to walking and playing with their pet) as opposed to cats, who are much more independent. 

3. You're left handed

While left-handedness used to be associated with criminality, more recent researchlinks it to 'divergent thinking' – a thought process used to generate creative ideas by exploring many possible solutions. It is thought that the higher the left-handed preference a person has, the better they are at tests of divergent thought.

Via

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