May 1, 2009

Higher IQ, better economic decisions

Higher IQ is linked to more calculated risk taking and wiser economic choices, University of Minnesota researchers said.

The study, to be published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found those with better cognitive skills, in particular higher IQ, were more willing to take calculated risks, to save their money and to make more consistent choices. They were also more likely to be cooperative in strategic situations and more accurately forecast the behavior of others.

The researchers from the University of Minnesota's Twin Cities and Morris campuses measured the cognitive skills of 1,000 trainee truck drivers and asked them to make choices in several economic experiments. The researchers followed them on the job for the next year.

Even though the trucking company paid for the training of those who stayed a year -- resulting in those who left early owing thousands in training costs -- the researchers found those with the highest level of cognitive ability stayed at twice the rate of those with the lowest.

These results could shed light on the causes of differential economic success among individuals and among nations, study co-author Aldo Rustichini said in a statement.