9.02.2012

Why people with bad eyesight (nearsightedness) tend to be smarter

      A few studies over the years have shown a relationship between smart people and nearsightedness. [1] Currently there is no widely agreed reason for this worldwide relationship. The main suggested mechanism for this is genetic, though no extensive evidence has been presented.

     There are a couple reasons why nearsighted people are smarter than other groups of people. The idea of it being genetic isn't supported. These reasons appear to be psychological, dubbed the "three F's".
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Focus:
     Having nearsightedness is like shooting free throws in basketball as a deaf man. You have nearly no distractions. Since nothing in the distance is distracting you, your brain gets use to controlling your focus onto one thing. Focusing in on something is easily the most important aspect of cognition.

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     People with farsightedness would thus have to have less focus and (mild) ADHD. ADHD is associated with poorer academic achievements according to "Academic and educational outcomes of children with ADHD".

     " Are children with myopia more intelligent?" seems to agree that farsighted people have ADHD as farsighted people also have poor academic achievements. [2]

Fabricate:
     People with reduced eye function are also smarter because the way their body recreates events. They must create (or fabricate) a memory out of more data than they receive.

     For example, say you walk up to someone and see what they look like, you then walk across the room and they talk to you yet they are blurry to you. Your brain would naturally try to remember their features.

Fear:
     In "Are children with myopia more intelligent?" it says even myopic (nearsightedness) children without increased IQs have greater academic success. This stems down to one thing, fear of taking a risk.    The inability of a child to see in the distance is similar to a child being in the dark. This loss aversion tends to cause people with myopia to try harder to be successful to avoid a risk.

Links:
[1] Czepita D, Lodygowska E, & Czepita M (2008). Are children with myopia more intelligent? A literature review. Annales Academiae Medicae Stetinensis, 54 (1) PMID: 19127804

[2] Loe IM, & Feldman HM (2007). Academic and educational outcomes of children with ADHD. Journal of pediatric psychology, 32 (6), 643-54 PMID: 17569716

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