Higher Intelligence Related to Laziness?

Being a typical 18-year-old, I was recently on a Facebook feed frenzy and came across a very interesting spectacle which addressed a newly researched question of whether or not being lazy means someone is more intelligent. Sounds strange, right? With those specific words, the information was a bit misleading and personally, quite offensive since I enjoy being physically active. I decided to research this bizarre speculation. My first question of action was what determines someone’s intelligence?

According to a set of studies done by the Journal of Health Psychology , they defined the term Need For  Cognition (NFC) in association with this specific relationship between thinking and physical activity. The NFC is defined as the enjoyment to engage in cognitive notions, or intrinsic motives; how likely someone wants to think intuitively. How is the NFC affected though? In one study by Watt JD and Blanchard MJ  showed lower-NFC people experience more negative boredom and high-NFC people are prone to avoid boredom (JHP 3). This leads to the question of why is boredom more common among these so-called lower-NFC individuals?

The whole point of this study is to see how this how different leveled NHC’s satisfy their physical activity levels, and with that come many variables that affect either side of the spectrum. The conginitive variables include preferences, intentions, and self efficacy as well as behavioral disorders that include anxiety and ADHD which are defined by neurochemical imbalances in the brain. The physical variables include approach avoidance motivation, which can be defined by people acting upon their good qualities rather than their bad, a person’s health status, sensation seekers, which is defined as people who commonly become bored without intense feelings they find in sensational experiences or things, or the Big Five Personality Traits which can directly affect someone’s personal. I found that since cognitive variable are accountable for the NFC, in addition, in a study conducted testing the physical variables by grouping them in categories of social structure or social cognition. This proved the difference social standings and social cognition have on being more physically active. It was seen that social cognition, which is apart of NFC (JHP 3), was related to how physical a person is (JHP 2).  Otherwise, the more socially motivated a person is, the more likely they are to interact in social environments that may include physical activity.

In response to this data, two possible alternative hypotheses were made: higher NFC results in more higher thinking than physical activity or a higher NFC may mean a higher need for social cognition which can be physical activity. The null hypothesis would be having a higher or lower NFC has no effect at all on physical needs due to confounding variables.


Their (JHP) experiment included 60 participants ( 45 females) from Appalachian State University  that were tested on their levels on NFC. Previous to the experiment, There were tests in which asked them questions that had them agree or disagree. Based on the results, they were divided 30 with high-NFC, ad 30 with low-NFC. Then they were then given a device that recorded their movements for a week. According to the graph above, over-all the high NFC individuals showed significantly lower physical activity levels than the low- NFC individuals. With the probability 0.9% difference. The weekend effect also has to be accounted for since they were significantly different results, especially on Sunday which very close levels of physical activity for both NFC levels. The probability on Saturday being 12.7% difference and on Sunday 65%.

In conclusion, The alternative hypothesis of higher of NFC= lower physical activity was accepted but with the acception that the weekend affect showed extreme difference, which could be by chance, and the fact that these were all strictly college students with restricted schedules. This causes limited knowledge still upon this hypothesis. This study would then be a false positive. Since it is a relatively new study, there is limited research so as of now this hypothesis is still just a possibility and needs more testing.

As a side note, most of us will never have our NFC levels recorded. Your own intelligence should not be the cause of how physically active you are. Everyone needs some sort of physical activity to stay healthy and happy.







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