Monday, February 27, 2006

Marriage, intelligence and insanity

Chris Dillow, surely one of the most original bloggers around, has an interesting piece drawn from the Sunday Times, which purports to show (pdf) that the IQ of men at age 11 positively correlates with the probability of marriage in later life.

Being accustomed to thinking of insanity being positively related to marriage, I was initially sceptical - until I remembered reading somewhere that mental illness and intelligence were positively correlated too.

Can't say I recognised much from my own experience from the research - one notable omission was any mention of divorce and remarriage in this study - so here's some unscientific, positively subjective observations of my own:

If you have been married for over ten years, and especially if you've produced sproglets who have avoided prison, I have no hesitation in declaring you a genius, a genuine virtuoso of human relationships. How you've managed to survive without either killing your spouse or killing yourself is beyond me and I tip my hat to you.

Yet the study said nothing of divorce. How intelligent is it to do it once, fail and come back for more? For instance, one woman told me she'd been married seven times: "Does that sound a lot?", she asked. "It is a lot", I replied. A bit rude I dare say, but in the back of my mind was the thought: "After about number three or four, didn't it occur to you that this wasn't your thang?" I shouldn't mock; I'd even be prepared to give it a second shot. How intelligent is that? By past form, I'd have to say - not very.

Regardless of intelligence, birth-weight, height and social class, I fear our friends who have focused on economics at a vunerable age have a huge disadvantage. "We assume people are rational". Oh do you really? Now, I have to ask you, what chance of traversing the minefield of human relationships does anyone have with that kind of attitude?

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