Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Smarter women go to bars, but not every night

Agnostic's recent post evincing justification for two pieces of conventional wisdom--that liberal women are more likely than conservative women to hit the bar scene, and that the bar scene is a good place for guys to hunt for flings--gave me an itching to confirm my own stereotype that women who frequent bars usually aren't worth mating with if the goal is to have intelligent children, because presumably intelligence and bar frequenting are inversely correlated.

Turning to the GSS, I set the parameters to target women who are the child-bearers of mate-seeking men. For currently unmarried women between the ages of 18 and 44* Wordsum results are converted to IQ scores (based on a white female mean of 100 and standard deviation of 15) by frequency of spending an evening at a bar. The total sample consists of 2,049 female respondents:

Freq of bar attendanceAvg IQ
Almost daily95.4
Many times a week94.9
Many times a month100.8
Once a month97.7
Many times a year99.4
Once a year98.1

When the data do not cooperate, presumptions need to be adjusted accordingly. Unsurprisingly, women who find themselves at a barstool night after night are not brainiacs. However, women who abstain from the bar scene completely are not either. Women who 'go out' from time to time are relatively more intelligent. So instead of validating my stereotype of women at bars as dullards, the GSS lends more credence to the old adage that moderation is a virtue.

The group that never goes to bars is the largest, representing one in three women, nearly half of whom are religious (believing the Bible to be the literal word of God). Among women who do go to bars, only one in five are similarly religious. Thus a firm Christian belief system is plausibly a significant influencer in social behavior as it relates to bar frequenting among women. There is some redundancy in pointing that out, as Agnostic showed conservative women to be more likely than moderate or liberal women to abstain from the bar scene entirely, but the point to be made is that biblical literalism is correlated with lower intelligence.

* Over 40 years old is already pushing it, but from 45 on, the realistic chance of churning out a child approaches nil.


Stopped Clock said...

As a teetotaler I'm surprised the abstainers' average IQ is only 92. But it seems that the mean for the whole sample is somewhat skewed downward, as all but one of the groups is under 100. Does this mean unmarried women have lower IQ's than married ones? ... I would have thought not.

Anonymous said...

What is the lesson from all this? Spend as much time in a bar as you can to meet the right woman(or women) who is/are intelligent! It works...

agnostic said...

As a teetotaler I'm surprised the abstainers' average IQ is only 92.

Ah, but "never goes to a bar" doesn't mean abstaining.

Going out to a bar is a form of nightlife -- people who are low in IQ, education, etc., are probably hunched over their dinner table or laying back in their recliner, drinking alone or with a buddy / gal pal.

You see a similar pattern with other indexes of social class -- education, real income, and job prestige. (EDUC, REALINC, SEI.)

agnostic said...

OK, just checked DRINK -- do you drink or abstain -- by education, IQ, real income, and job prestige, for unmarried women aged 18 - 40.

No matter the index of social class, percent who abstain decreases as you go up the social scale.

Interestingly, SMOKE shows the exact opposite -- smoking declines as you go up the social scale, no matter how you measure it.

Relaxing the constraints and allowing everyone to count, it's slightly different -- smoking peaks among people with 10 years of education, or 2 words correct of 10, but then declines after that.

Stopped Clock said...

That reminds me of a study I read once which stated that vegetarians have IQs about 5 points higher than average, but vegans have IQs about 5 points lower than average. (But there were only nine vegans in the study.)

agnostic said...

Here's evidence that the greater likelihood of the upper end of the social to drink or go out reflects *moderate* drinking:

Check DRUNK, with a "u", which asks if you ever "drink too much." The percent who say yes is pretty flat across the four indexes of social class.

agnostic said...

That reminds me of a study I read once which stated that vegetarians have IQs about 5 points higher than average,

Bad study. Vegetarians and vegans deprive their brains of what it needs. Taking creatine improves vegetarians' IQ (no effect among meat-eaters).

The GSS has a vegetarian question: NOMEAT. Splitting people up into refuse to eat meat at all vs. who never refuse to eat meat, about 25% of the former but 45% of the latter score above-average on the vocab test.

As for social class, vegetarianism is flat across education and income, and declines with higher IQ and job prestige.

However, this question was only asked in 1993 -- before "eco-friendliness" became fashionable among the elites (which started around 1997).

agnostic said...

"refuse to eat meat at all" means refuse to eat meat with any frequency, not that they never eat meat.

Audacious Epigone said...


As a fellow teetotaler, I was surprised, too.

Yes, married women b/w the ages of 18-44 have an IQ advantage over unmarried women of 1.9 points by the conversion method used in the post.

Keep in mind this is for women of all races, not just whites, but the mean IQ of 100 is based on the Wordsum score of white women. Also, blacks are less likely to be married than whites are, and members of lower classes are more likely that others to see their partnerships fall apart than.

Re: drinking, women who abstain average much lower Wordsum scores than women who "ever drink alcoholic beverages". Using the same IQ conversion method, women b/w the ages of 18-44 who abstain (20% of the population) average an IQ of 90.1. Women who drink average an IQ of 98.0. Big difference.

With the DRUNK question ("Ever drink too much?"), there is no difference in Wordsum scores, however. So again, moderation looks to be the behavior of the smarties.

Re: vegetarianism, the NOMEAT question Agnostic pointed to shows a clear trend of decreasing Wordsum scores as the propensity to not eat meat for "moral or environmental reasons" increases. Surprising, since vegetarianism and veganism strike me was whiterpeople lifestyles. But as Agnostic pointed out, this was only asked in 1993, so the distributions may have changed in the last 15 years.

Peter said...

For currently unmarried women between the ages of 18 and 44

Of course, those at the bottom of that age distribution can't legally go to bars, even if they want to.

Audacious Epigone said...


It depends. Many bars allow people between 18 and 20 yo, but they can't be served drinks. Before posting, I checked to see if there'd be any difference in setting the bottom age at 18 or 21, and there wasn't. But I didn't want Agnostic to write something about how 18-20 yos are a very desirable age range to leave out, so I preempted him!

agnostic said...

And in the first six surveys that the SOCBAR question was asked, there was no national 21 drinking age anyway.

Stopped Clock said...

Back to the veg thing, I just found this post on Half Sigma:

Which in turn came from this blog:

Anonymous said...

"What is the lesson from all this? Spend as much time in a bar as you can to meet the right woman(or women) who is/are intelligent! It works..."

Don't do it!! True story: my parents met in a bar and my mom's I.Q. is 147; she was not a bar fly. Good so far. They married, had two kids in four years, and then by the sixth year, she said she "wasn't happy" and needed to "find herself". She was a raging lib when it came to personal behavior, though she thought of herself as a conservative (because she was a capitalist, believed gov't programs didn't work, etc.). She broke my dad's heart, but the way she broke her third husband's heart was really novel: she had a secret affair with an African-American inmate doing time for second degree murder (she was a nurse). Her husbands were good men and great providers; they were aghast because they had done everything right. I love mom, but she sure left a path of devastation in her wake.

Boys: I wouldn't be here today if it wasn't for Ralph's Bar, but that being said, do not meet women in bars.

And listen to Agnostic, he's right about the drinking.