Are Smart People Better Drivers?

Are Smart People Better Drivers?
Simon Davison / Flickr

Are smart people better drivers? Maybe, maybe not. But your own casual research on the streets of Los Angeles would suggest a strong correlation between idiots and crap motorists, right? (Just look at their vacant, zombie faces).

New research published this week in the journal Current Biology says there's a clear connection between folks with high IQs and those who can track "the movement of small objects faster," according to a summary:

Using a video researchers tested subjects ability to pick out smaller, moving objects, or "bars."

The allegedly smarter people got it right in spades, quickly determining if the bars were moving left or right, according to the study out of the Vanderbilt University.

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However ... larger moving objects in the background were virtually ignored, and the high-IQ set wasn't very good and picking them up.

Researchers chalked it up to a positive -- the ability to block distractions.

Duje Tadin, a senior author on the study and an assistant professor of brain and cognitive sciences at the University of Rochester (he was at Vanderbilt when he started the research), says:

Are Smart People Better Drivers?

There is something about the brains of high-IQ individuals that prevents them from quickly seeing large, background-like motions.

So are smarter people better drivers? It remains to be seen, but a summary of the research gives a clue that it could be the case:

The results support prior research showing that individuals with higher IQs make simple perceptual judgments swifter and have faster reflexes.

So that guy who just crossed three lanes to make a left turn in front of you? Yep, he's a genius.

[@dennisjromero / djromero@laweekly.com / @LAWeeklyNews]


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