Night owls may be smarter
- Andrew Jones
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If you are the type of person who likes to stay up late and be the last one to go to bed, there may be some good news for you, according to a new study from the University of Madrid, people who tended to stay up late and rise late did better on academic test results then early rises or morning people (Link).
About 1,000 teenagers took part in the research at the University of Madrid, with students subjected to a wide range of tests, that measured their inductive intelligence and their overall school performance. The test results showed that teenagers who stayed up later (Night Owls) performed better on their general intelligence tests such as inductive reasoning, conceptual and analytical thinking then their early morning rises (Morning Larks).
From the study 32 percent of the participants were identified as night owls and 25 percent morning larks, with the remaining population falling into neither group. In an attempt to explain the difference between these two groups, some scientists say night owls might experience superior intelligence given the evolutionarily novel behaviour associated with activity past sunset, behaviours that tend to attract those with a more higher inquisitive mind.
The study has also suggested that the intelligence measured for night owls has also been linked to more prestigious jobs and higher incomes. Jim Horne, a professor of psychophysiology at Loughborough University, commented on the Madrid study. "Evening types tend to be the more extrovert creative types, the poets, artists and inventors, while the morning types are the deducers, as often seen with civil servants and accountants."
"We have looked at morning and evening types and we found that personalities tended to be different. Evening types were more social, more people-oriented. They will probably be good at cryptic crosswords, while morning types go for the more logical ones."
There has also been a number of previous studies completed that seems to backup the results obtained from the Spanish University research work. Robert Bolizs at Semmelweist University, and his co-workers, have shown that encephalograms during sleep illustrate how sleep elements are directly related to "wakeful cognitive performance." Studies by researchers H. Aliasson and colleagues show that the timing of intervals of sleep "correlates closely" with student academic achievement.
Extensive Research by Satoshi Kanazawa and colleagues at the London School of Economics and Political Science have uncovered significant differences in sleep-timing preferences among people, depending on their IQ scores. People with higher IQs are more apt to be nocturnal night-owls.
Although the studies do point towards a correlation between Intelligence and sleep patterns, care must also be taken, as late sleepers may also be subjected to higher health risks (Link).