Scientists say smart people are more likely to stay up late and do drugs as adults

Throwing a party? Want it to be wild?

There’s one group of people you should definitely include on your guest list: The geniuses.

When the rest of your friends start nodding off around midnight and declining another glass of wine (how rude), your super intelligent invitees will just be getting started.

According to a growing body of research, the smarter you are, the more likely you are to be a night owl — and to use illegal drugs.

One study, for example, followed nearly 7,000 people born in the United Kingdom in 1958, from childhood to adulthood. When participants were 11 years old, researchers measured their cognitive ability. When they were 42 years old, participants answered questions about recent illegal drug use (for example, cannabis, cocaine, and magic mushrooms).

Results showed that the smarter participants were more likely to have used illegal drugs by middle age — and this was especially true for women.

Other research looked at the link between childhood IQ and sleep habits among thousands of adolescents. Sure enough, smarter teens said they stayed up later and woke up later on both weekdays and weekends.

Another study, of about 400 US Air Force recruits, yielded similar findings.

So what explains the link between intelligence, staying up late, and doing drugs?

Scientists can’t say for sure, but one evolutionary psychologist — who coauthored the study on adolescents mentioned above — suspects it has to do with the “savanna-IQ interaction hypothesis.”

Working lateHero Images/Getty ImagesSmart people may also be more inclined to stay up late.

The gist of the hypothesis is that smarter people are better able to deal with evolutionary novel activities — like drugs and staying up late. (Some research also suggests smart people are more likely to consume alcohol.)

In other words, our caveman ancestors didn’t yet have access to modern drugs or alcohol, and they did most of their activity during the day. So drugs and late-night events are less intimidating for smart people, who aren’t as fazed by unfamiliarity.

That evolutionary psychologist, Satoshi Kanazawa, also helped develop the “savanna theory of happiness,” which might explain why smart people are happier spending less time with friends. Again, our caveman ancestors were used to being part of a community — but smart people today are better able to handle relative isolation.

The savanna theories are but potential explanations for these findings — they might not be true at all.

It’s also worth noting that you definitely shouldn’t develop a drug habit or even stay up later than you normally would in order to make people think you’re smart. That sounds like a terrible — and very dangerous — idea.

NOW WATCH: 5 signs you’re going to be extraordinarily successful

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.