Intelligence’s Effect on Sperm Quality

The Eco­nom­ist presents a short art­icle on how intel­li­gence predicts—among oth­er health benefits—sperm qual­ity. Some­thing I poin­ted to a couple of months ago when research res­ults were first com­ing through.

Recently, it has been dis­covered that an individual’s [intel­li­gence] is cor­rel­ated with many aspects of his health, up to and includ­ing his lifespan. One pos­sible explan­a­tion for this is that intel­li­gent people make bet­ter choices about how to con­duct their lives. They may, for example, be less likely to smoke, more likely to eat healthy foods or to exer­cise, and so on.

Altern­at­ively (or in addi­tion) it may be that intel­li­gence is one mani­fest­a­tion of an under­ly­ing, genet­ic­ally based health­i­ness. That is a view held by many evol­u­tion­ary bio­lo­gists, and was pro­pounded in its mod­ern form by Geof­frey Miller of the Uni­ver­sity of New Mex­ico […]. These bio­lo­gists believe intel­li­gence, as mani­fes­ted in things like artist­ic and music­al abil­ity, is such a reli­able indic­at­or of under­ly­ing genet­ic fit­ness that it has been chosen by mem­bers of the oppos­ite sex over the mil­len­nia. In the ensu­ing arms race to show off and get a mate it has been exag­ger­ated in the way that a peacock’s tail is. This pro­cess of sexu­al selec­tion, Dr Miller and his fol­low­ers believe, is the reas­on people have become so brainy.

Two com­ple­ment­ary art­icles: The ‘evol­u­tion’ high of cul­ture, Evol­u­tion has not come to an end (even if nat­ur­al selec­tion has).