A new study suggests intelligent people display social values and religious and political preferences that are novel to the human species in evolutionary history.
In her study, Satoshi Kanazawa, an evolutionary psychologist at the London School of Economics and Political Science, points out that people with higher intelligence are likely to be associated with liberal political ideology, atheism, and men's (but not women's) preference for sexual exclusivity.
Apparently, more intelligent people adopt evolutionarily novel preferences and values, but intelligence does not correlate with preferences and values that are old enough to have been shaped by evolution over millions of years."
Kanazawa explains that "Evolutionarily novel" preferences and values are those that humans are not biologically designed to have and our ancestors probably did not possess, while those that our ancestors had for millions of years are "evolutionarily familiar."
Kanazawa said: "General intelligence, the ability to think and reason, endowed our ancestors with advantages in solving evolutionarily novel problems for which they did not have innate solutions.
"As a result, more intelligent people are more likely to recognize and understand such novel entities and situations than less intelligent people, and some of these entities and situations are preferences, values, and lifestyles."
The study argues that humans are evolutionarily designed to be conservative, caring mostly about their family and friends.
Hence, being liberal, caring about an indefinite number of genetically unrelated strangers they never meet or interact with, is evolutionarily novel.
Kanazawa further briefed that religion is a byproduct of humans' tendency to perceive agency and intention as causes of events, to see "the hands of God" at work behind otherwise natural phenomena.
Kanazawa said: "Humans are evolutionarily designed to be paranoid, and they believe in God because they are paranoid
"So, more intelligent children are more likely to grow up to go against their natural evolutionary tendency to believe in God, and they become atheists."
The study has been published in the March 2010 issue of the peer-reviewed journal Social Psychology Quarterly.