The study indicated that there may be some science behind the common stereotype.
When you see someone wearing glasses, do you perceive that person to be smart? A common trope that’s been fixed in our culture, people with glasses are often thought of as more intelligent. Now, a new study published in the journal Nature Communications on May 29, 2018, discovered that there is actually some science behind the theory.
In one of the largest studies of its kind, a team of interdisciplinary researchers at the The University of Edinburgh analyzed data from over 300,000 people between the ages of 16 and 102 and found a link between poor eyesight and intelligence. From the information collected, it was determined that people who showed higher levels of intelligence were 28% more likely to wear glasses.
The data was collected from the UK Biobank as well as the Charge and Cognet consortia, which all contain the health and genomic data of the over 300,000 people studied.
In the broader study that the finding came from, the researchers analyzed how inherited genes affected general cognitive function. The study states that “General cognitive function is a prominent and relatively stable human trait that is associated with many important life outcomes.”
Using the collected database, the researchers were able to sort the people by intelligence levels and then compare those levels against other factors.
In the overall study, they also found that those with higher cognitive function (intelligence) usually live longer, have healthier hearts, and are less likely to have hypertension.
As interesting as the data is, two things must be noted. The first is that the findings are correlations and not necessarily concrete connections. The second is that the act of measuring intelligence is subjective, not an entirely quantitative process.
Because the study is too broad to definitively state a direct link between poor eyesight and high intelligence, the researchers noted that much more exploration of the topic needs to be done.