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Having smart friends makes us smarter, according to research

Having smart friends makes us smarter, according to research

June 21, 2022

Can our friends make us smarter through their influence on us? A pioneering study in human behavior analyzes this premise, and establishes a strong relationship between classmates who socialize with more or less intelligent people.

The International University of Florida has prepared a report with the title: Can our friends make us smarter? (Can our friends make us smarter?) In conjunction with the Federal Department of Criminology and the International School of Public Relations of the same state. This document shows the results of a research led by Professor Ryan Charles Meldrum yields very interesting results. But let's start with the basics.

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What is intelligence?

Intelligence is the ability or ability of people to act correctly depending on their objectives and the available options. Beyond the IQ and other measurers of cognitive potential, an intelligent person will be the one who knows how to choose the best option from among the possible , that is capable of doing what is best for you in every situation and moment. It can also be understood as the ability of individuals to absorb data, process it, understand it and use this knowledge in the best possible way.

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Does it make us smarter to have smart friends?

Since we began to be aware and until we entered the circle of social development, our parents influence us to surround ourselves with the right friendships. "With this friend do not go", "join Pepito who is smart", etc. are some of the phrases that we identify most when remembering part of the education we have received from our family. It is evident that, depending on the group to which we belong, this will directly influence our behavior and personal development.

The interpersonal relationships with friends are largely determined by our family environment, the social stratum and the aspirations of the future that we are inculcated or that, on a personal level, we intend to achieve even though these are different from those acquired during childhood.

But... Does the fact of relating to one or another type of person really influence us so much? In many aspects, yes, and now it is known that this could affect even our level of intelligence, at least if certain conditions are met.

Puberty, key moment

An extensive base of studies are based on the theme of the influence of the environment on our cognitive abilities . The groups or individuals with whom we come together will have a special impact on our behavior. The work done by the International University of Florida reveals the impact of our environment on a personal level: our behavior, cultural feeling and professional perspective.

An exceptional example in this matter, are the children of immigrant relatives in a large part of the western countries. The family nucleus is very hermetic, since the native language and its cultural values ​​are used. If the firstborn of this family comes together, is associated and develops with local people, it will end up adopting the same behaviors, regardless of the roots they have with their parents.

Taking into account these precedents, Ryan Charles and his counterparts decided to delve into the matter. They took as a starting point almost 10,000 high school students , adolescent age, and measured their degree of intelligence with that of their peers. The IQ of each individual was correlated with the IQ of their friend or group to which they belonged.

However, what was striking is that this fact corresponded to a very striking phenomenon: people who were related to more intelligent colleagues, had a higher IQ than what could be expected taking as parameters their intelligence test results taken years ago.

Thus, what has been recorded in this study is not simply that people with a higher IQ tend to relate more to each other. It has been seen that the fact of becoming part of these social circles has a positive effect on one's own intelligence , at least during childhood and adolescence.

During the investigation, we wanted to specify even more in the results. Another 7,000 students between the ages of 8 and 16 were taken, and the conclusions were similar.Those children who had grown up in groups with better academic grades had obtained better records to access higher education.


It seems that adolescent age is the key to the study. Previous experiments also confirmed the effects of "bad or good companies" between the periods of primary and secondary education, effects that lost strength and consistency when comparing these data with the university period . According to the latest results, there is a missing link that does not correlate the friendships of adolescence with adulthood.

As if that were not enough, relationships with a healthy environment, do not provide only intellectual benefits, but also seeks a good development of social behavior. Among other advantages, having a high CI allows access to a support network with greater resources.

10 Reasons Why Smart People Have Fewer Friends (June 2022).

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