Tyson Adams

Putting the 'ill' back in thriller

Why being smart sucks

I like to think of myself as smart. My friends and work collegues would refer to me as that annoying know-it-all. Being smart is not actually as good as you would think. For example, having knowledge and understanding puts you at a severe disadvantage in an argument, as you are trying to be correct, rather than win the argument with made up nonsense. And, lets face it, everyone hates a know-it-all.

So here are 5 reasons being smart sucks (Original article from Cracked.com with some edits by Tyson Adams. Original here).

5) You’re Probably a Night Owl – And That’s a Bad Thing

Recently, scientists discovered a quirky side effect to having a high IQ: You tend to stay up until later hours and get up later in the morning. That’s right – the more intelligent are also much more likely to be night owls. Which isn’t such a surprise when you consider that intelligent people are infamous for burning the midnight oil to cram for tests, write papers, touch up those earnings reports, etc.It appears to just be evolution – the more intelligent members of a species are, in general, the first to change habits. Since humans have been day-dwellers during most of their existence, it’s primarily the smarties who prefer to habitually stay up until the wee hours and to do the types of tasks that are easier to accomplish when you don’t have the day-dwellers hanging around and distracting you.

Of course being a night owl does have some negative side effects, or rather a lot that will screw up your health. For starters, studies have found that “eveningness” is associated with a high degree of emotional instability. That means you tend to be less agreeable and conscientious than the average Joe. Oh, and you don’t just make others’ lives miserable. Thanks to your late-night habits, likely brought on by high intelligence, you’re also three times more likely to suffer symptoms of depression. According to a number of studies, night owls are at higher risk for heart disease and suffer more arterial stiffness than those who go to bed early. People who tend to stay up late also tend to do other unhealthy things at night, such as overeating. Then, once they do eventually hit the hay, they experience more sleep interruptions when those pesky morning larks get up and start noisying about. All this adds up to some nasty artery stress and whacked-out circadian rhythms, a nice recipe for a massive coronary.

4) You’re Less Likely to Pass On Your Genes

Another unfortunate stereotype of smart people is that they’re socially awkward nerds who are doomed to lives of celibacy until they get out of high school hell. Unfortunately, that one turns out to be totally true. But it’s not all bad news. There’s evidence that the highly educated get more enjoyment out of sex than the dumb jocks and that they make the woman in their lives happy. Yes, monogamy.

It all starts with the smart ladies. A 2008 national census reported that women who had dropped out of high school had the most children on average. And the more education women achieved, the fewer children they were likely to have, with the fewest children being born to women who had finished graduate school. Good news for overpopulation, bad news for picking up. Well, unless you want a dumb chick, who is likely to trap you with an unwanted child, as research found that women with lower IQs are less likely to know how to use birth control properly, leading to more unplanned pregnancies. Looks like Idiocracy was a startling insight into our future society.

 3) You’re More Likely to Lie

Tyson note: I’m not sure I agree with this point because it assumes we are manipulative bastards. From my own experience managers are moronic manipulative bastards and they are usually following the Dilbert  Principle.

The problem with being the smartest guy in the room is that you usually know you’re the smartest guy in the room. For some people, that’s not a big deal. They can relate to others just fine and know how to navigate around everyone else’s deficiencies without being complete pricks. Others, however, know they have an intellectual edge and can’t help but abuse it.

In order to lie and get away with it, you also have to keep the truth in mind and manipulate it, and you might even have to cover up your lies upon further questioning. All of this involves integrating several brain processes in much the same way that you would solve a complex calculus problem. This means that the age at which you start lying, and the effectiveness with which you do it throughout your life, are controlled by how smart you are.

In one study, scientists put people in brain-imaging machines and found that the regions of the brain that light up when a person metaphorically sets his pants on fire are the same that control “executive functioning.” These are high-order thinking and reasoning abilities that include working memory, which, you guessed it, is the single biggest component of your IQ.

2) You’re More Likely to Believe Bullshit

We’re sure that at some point, someone has told you that you can’t get anywhere without an education, and for the most part, they’re right. And you’re much more likely to pursue that education if you’re starting out with a high IQ. According to renowned intelligenceologists who painstakingly measured every goddamn thing that you can associate with IQ, test scores were “the best single predictor of an individual’s years of education.”

The problem is that education leads to one overall inaccurate belief: You think you’re smarter than you are. Three studies have found that people who fall for investment scams are better-educated than the average person but don’t seek advice because they think they’re immune to making mistakes. In one study, researchers found that 94 percent of college professors think their work is superior to their peers’. These fellows fail to realize that intelligence doesn’t always translate to real-world ability, and thus they tend to overestimate the quality of their work.

Via Smartiq.com
Whoa! Sure is getting crowded at the smart end of the bell curve. Right, guys?

It seems to go back to the old saying about how the wisest man is the one who realizes he knows nothing. Or, as Michael Shermer, the author of Why People Believe Weird Things, puts it: “Smart people believe weird things because they are skilled at defending beliefs they arrived at for non-smart reasons.”

That’s why the more education you get, the more likely you are to believe in, say, ghosts and the supernatural. One study found that 23 percent of college freshman believed in the paranormal, compared with 31 percent of seniors and 34 percent of graduate students. Which leads us to wonder … what the fuck are schools teaching these days?

1) You’re More Likely to Be Self-Destructive

On one hand, it seems like the smarter you are, the greater your ability to know the dangers of, say, shooting heroin. So self-destructive habits are traits of the low-class and stupid, right? Eh, not really…

The thing is, the great minds have something in common with proverbial death-prone kitties: curiosity. Researchers have finally begun to understand the link between curiosity and intelligence on the molecular level, thanks to scientists from the University of Toronto and Mount Sinai Hospital who discovered a protein in an under-explored part of the brain that controls both traits.

Via Wiredtowinthemovie.com
It’s always in the last place you look.

Makes sense. Weird shit like monkey-powered time machines can be invented only by people with enough brain smarts to make them work and enough curiosity to want to see such awesomeness in the first place.

So extra-curious people are also extra-likely to be substance abusers. British scientists published the results of a long-term study showing that smart people were more likely to be drunks. People who fell into the “very bright” category (IQs of 125 or greater, that’s me) were not only more likely to experiment with alcohol but also were more likely to drink excessively and binge drink than their dimwitted counterparts. And they found the same link between high intelligence and psychoactive drug use. It also turns out that intelligent people are much more likely to indulge in illicit substances such as marijuana, Ecstasy, cocaine and heroin. The smarter you are, the more likely you are to be tripping balls at any given moment.

As for why, remember when we said earlier that smart people’s brains seek out novelty and thus are the first to experiment with any new habit? Well, one theory explaining the link between substance abuse and intelligence is that both alcohol and drugs are novel substances, in evolutionary terms. Humans have been consuming alcohol for only about 10,000 years, and the earliest recorded drug was only 5,000 years ago. So when something is novel, the curiouser and most intelligent among us are more likely to want to try it out.

You know. For science.


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9 thoughts on “Why being smart sucks

  1. I like when I’m accused of being ‘too smart for my own good,’ a la discussions about god. It’s one of the very few times being too smart is somehow a bad thing.

    • Ha, I fell for the language. I should have said it’s one of the few times you can be too smart.

    • No such thing as being too smart. The problem is that the smarter you are, the more stupid people you are surrounded by.

      • It’s a problem. You also have he (un)fortunate ability to know when you’re being or have been stupid, so you’re surrounded by your own stupidity. And, as they pointed out, you have a better than average memory so you can relive your stupid episodes in excruciating detail over and over.

        Hmm, sounds like #firstworldproblems

  2. Simon on said:

    I ususally drink and smoke weed to get myself dumb enough to maintain a conversation with sober people lol.

  3. Pingback: Top Posts of 2016 | Tyson Adams

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