Most IQ tests involve answering a whole series of difficult questions. But here is one with only two. Even better, they are simple:
1. Does living in a crowded area get you down?
(a) a lot (b) a little (c) not at all
2. Do you prefer socializing with friends every day rather than once or twice a week?
(a) hell, yeah! (b) maybe a little (c) no
If you answered (b) or (c) for the first question and (c) for the second, then you are showing the typical response pattern of intelligent people. In general, living in a densely populated area is associated with lower levels of life satisfaction. However, the study on which this quiz is based found that high population density had a greater negative effect for the lower IQ group (an average of 81, as measured by a standard IQ test) than the higher IQ group (an average of 116). Standard IQ tests are designed so that the average of the population as a whole is 100.
Additionally, spending time with friends every day, instead of just a few times a week, is associated with higher life satisfaction among the low-IQ group, but lower satisfaction among the brainboxers. Interestingly, these geniuses don’t seem to be smart enough to recognize what makes them happy. The study found that smart people tended to socialize more often than less smart people, even though they generally got less pleasure – and more irritation – from doing so.
A fully referenced version of this article is available at benambridge.com. Ordered Psy-Q by Ben Ambridge (Profile Books, £8.99) for £6.99 at bookstore.theguardian.com