The most recent research has found that feeling happy and satisfied is linked to having a higher IQ. Experiencing positive emotions, feeling lively and wide awake – all these variables predict higher intelligence.
These conclusions come from two studies of 440 participants who completed tests of personality and well-being and happiness.
The researchers have emphasised that at the moment of fulfilling the task, those with higher intelligence were less stressed both before and afterwards, as well as being more engaged. Also, people who were happier and more likely were also more likely to agree with statements like:
I am quick to understand things.
I have a rich vocabulary, and intellectual engagement.
I like to solve complex problems.
Positive answers to these statements matched up with an actual fluid intelligence test they were given. In other words, smart people were right about being smart, they didn’t just ‘feel’ smart.
Fluid intelligence refers to the speed at which the brain works. It is like the raw power of an engine or the speed at which a computer can process information. The study has concluded:
“The results indicated that Intellect was generally associated with lower stress (low distress and worry and high task engagement) before and after intelligence tests.”
Even without being given a test to do, people with higher IQs feel happier and more energetic. The reason that IQ and happiness are linked could be down to how much importance is placed on being smart in Western cultures.
“It is striking that Intellect was correlated with affect even in Study 1, in which there was no requirement to perform an intellectual task.
At least in Western cultures, intellect may be of sufficient importance to the self-schema that it influences general emotional functioning.”
The study was published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences (Zajenkowskia & Matthews, 2019).