Are people with high IQs
more likely to be liberal, atheist and monogamous?
They are, according to a
recently published paper by Satoshi Kanazawa, an evolutionary psychologist from
the London School of Economics and Political Science.
In a controversial article
in the March issue of the journal Social Psychology Quarterly, Kanazawa
suggested that young adults with higher intelligence scores are more likely to
say they do not attend religious services; they also identify themselves as
His research is based on
U.S. data that showed young adults who self-identify as “not at all religious”
had an average IQ of 103, while those with an average IQ of 97 identified as “very
Kanazawa, who called himself
a libertarian and atheist, said there are evolutionary reasons for his
findings. Smarter people, he argued, are more willing to adopt “evolutionarily
novel” thinking and values.
Humans, he said, are
naturally designed to be conservative and put a high value on family and
friends. So, Kanazawa wrote, “What is conservative in the U.S. — caring about
your family and your friends and your kin — is sort of evolutionarily familiar.”
By contrast, caring about
unrelated strangers (what Kanazawa calls liberalism) is “evolutionarily novel,”
as is thinking rationally about natural phenomena, like drought and pestilence,
rather than seeking supernatural intentions behind such disasters.
Belief in God comes out of
paranoia, he said. Hunter/gatherers needed a supernatural explanation for
natural phenomena, like lightning, drought and pestilence.
“Humans are evolutionarily
designed to be paranoid, and they believe in God because they are paranoid,”
said Kanazawa. “So, more intelligent children are more likely to grow up to go
against their natural evolutionary tendency to believe in God, and they become
The study also found that
men with higher IQs tended to be monogamous.
Since it was released,
Kanazawa’s research has been criticized for his use of IQ scores as a measure
of intellect and for his limited sample of American young adults who self
identified as liberal or conservative and “very religious” or “not at all