Like Intelligence, Worry Is an Evolved Survival Skill

New research confirms that worry is associated with high intelligence levels, suggesting that an aversion to dangerous situations has evolved as an important survival skill for our species. 

What's the Latest Development?


A new study suggests that worry and intelligence, because of how they act on the brain, may have evolved simultaneously as important survival skills for our species. At SUNY Downstate Medical Center, scientists measured the intelligence quotient and levels of worry in individuals diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder as well as in a control group. In individuals diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, higher levels of intelligence were positively correlated with a greater tendency to worry. "High intelligence and worry both correlate with brain activity measured by the depletion of the nutrient choline in the subcortical white matter of the brain."

What's the Big Idea?

While too much worry is generally considered a negative trait, and intelligence usually a positive trait, "worry may cause our species to avoid dangerous situations, regardless of how remote a possibility they may be," said Jeremy Coplan, MD, professor of psychiatry at SUNY Downstate. "In essence, worry may make people 'take no chances,' and such people may have higher survival rates. Thus, like intelligence, worry may confer a benefit upon the species." Previous studies have observed that higher rates of worry are associated with people of higher and lower intelligence. 

Photo credit: shutterstock.com


LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Sponsored
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

People who engage in fat-shaming tend to score high in this personality trait

A new study explores how certain personality traits affect individuals' attitudes on obesity in others.

Pixabay
Mind & Brain
  • The study compared personality traits and obesity views among more than 3,000 mothers.
  • The results showed that the personality traits neuroticism and extraversion are linked to more negative views and behaviors related to obesity.
  • People who scored high in conscientiousness are more likely to experience "fat phobia.
Keep reading Show less

4 anti-scientific beliefs and their damaging consequences

The rise of anti-scientific thinking and conspiracy is a concerning trend.

Moon Landing Apollo
popular
  • Fifty years later after one of the greatest achievements of mankind, there's a growing number of moon landing deniers. They are part of a larger trend of anti-scientific thinking.
  • Climate change, anti-vaccination and other assorted conspiratorial mindsets are a detriment and show a tangible impediment to fostering real progress or societal change.
  • All of these separate anti-scientific beliefs share a troubling root of intellectual dishonesty and ignorance.
Keep reading Show less

Reigning in brutality - how one man's outrage led to the Red Cross and the Geneva Conventions

The history of the Geneva Conventions tells us how the international community draws the line on brutality.

Napoleon III at the Battle of Solferino. Painting by Adolphe Yvon. 1861.
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Henry Dunant's work led to the Red Cross and conventions on treating prisoners humanely.
  • Four Geneva Conventions defined the rules for prisoners of war, torture, naval and medical personnel and more.
  • Amendments to the agreements reflect the modern world but have not been ratified by all countries.
Keep reading Show less