March 26, 2013 2:29 pm
Night owls and early birds, a new study shows, may be predisposed to different patterns of thinking, and thus to different potentials in life. Those who prefer late nights tend to possess the kind of intelligence often linked to high incomes and more prestigious jobs, the Independent writes, while early risers typically get better grades in school.
Researchers from the University of Madrid studied the circadian rhythms – or natural body clocks – of around 1,000 teenagers. They classified the teens as night or morning people depending on their sleeping patterns and when they tended to be at their intellectual peak. Around one in four teens were morning birds, about 32 percent night owls and the rest fell into an in-between category.
After establishing these groups, the researchers gave their participants a battery of tests that measured intelligence and school performance. They also took into account the students’ grades in school.
Night owls, they found, tended to score higher than morning people on inductive reasoning, which often serves as an estimate of general intelligence and a strong predictor for academic performance.
One theory to explain the extra brain power of night owls is that intelligent children are more likely to grow up to be nocturnal because in ancestral times any activities at night would have been novel and would, therefore, have been more likely to attract people with inquisitive minds.
Night teens’ grades, however, were on average 8 percent lower than those of teens who feel their best in the morning. This may simply be because night-oriented teens have trouble functioning early in the morning when high schools tend to be in session, the Independent points out.
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