Smarter people are happier

Are smarter people more likely to be happy?

The BBC published an article with the following arguments:

People with lower intelligence are more likely to be unhappy than their lighter counterparts

Is this an accurate description of what we know about the relationship between happiness and intelligence?


@coleopterist: I can give you a link to an article in a reputable journal that shows that prior knowledge works, which doesn't make it an established scientific finding. Is there any reason to believe that the effect is universal? Is there more than one paper that comes to this conclusion and no paper that disagrees?


@Anko: IQ is the obvious choice for people in psychology to measure intelligence.

Sklivvz ♦

@coleopterist is the paper serious? does it actually say what the article says? Are there other papers that confirm or deny the fact?

Sklivvz ♦

@coleopterist the claim is what people believe the BBC article is an example / evidence of notoriety. The paper examines the claim, so it is evidence and certainly not useful in the question. It's not "lazy" because I think people in general won't be overly preoccupied with the newspaper, but they will believe (and maybe look up) the BBC article.


At the individual level, there does not seem to be a correlation between intelligence and happiness, and on average, cognitive skills do not result in more or less happiness in two studies mentioned below.

  1. A 1998 meta-analysis of 19 studies by DeNeve & Cooper found no association between intelligence and happiness.
  2. A study by Ruut Veenhoven et al. In 2012, 23 studies in ten different countries and 15,827 respondents found no correlation between IQ and happiness for childhood IQ and happiness today or for current IQ and happiness.

Jamiec ♦

I'm not sure 1st found no Correlation. In the very first paragraph it says: "It was found that the personality predicts life satisfaction, happiness, and positive effects equally, but significantly less predicts negative effects." Did I misunderstand that?


@Jamiec-The first DeNeve and Cooper paper from 1998 states that intelligence should not be a strong correlate to social wellbeing (SWB), which includes happiness. The second paper also states: "These results fit in with an earlier meta-analysis by DeNeve & Cooper (1998) that found almost no correlation between intelligence and Found happiness. "


A bit of a surprise because there is a known correlation between intelligence and income and a known correlation between income and happiness.


@kbelder If the effect is known, it is likely that studies control it, e.g. B. by grouping measurements by income.