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In a post titled Why Vegetarians Are More Intelligent than Meat Eaters, evolutionary psychologist Satoshi Kanazawa claims:

Among the British respondents in the National Child Development Study, those who are vegetarian at age 42 have significantly higher childhood general intelligence than those who are not vegetarian at age 42. (Childhood general intelligence was measured with 11 different cognitive tests at three ages before 16.) Vegetarians have the mean childhood IQ of 109.1 whereas meat eaters have the mean childhood IQ of 100.9. The difference is large and highly statistically significant.

The Evening Standard discusses a similar study.

I am skeptical of this claim, so I searched for scientific data investigating this issue, but I couldn't find any solid scientific study conducted over long period or with bigger sample. The most articles I encountered were just speculations made people to support their own claim.

I found the following related research while searching:

  1. IQ in childhood and vegetarianism in adulthood: 1970 British cohort study

  2. Schooling, educational achievement, and cognitive functioning among young Guatemalan adults.

  3. Malnutrition can affect development of brain in early stages.

  4. The Hindu-CNN-IBN State of the Nation Survey 2006 : India

Is vegetarianism correlated to intelligence (as measured by IQ or similar methods)?

  • 2
    I wonder. If India has 40% vegetarians, is it the smartest country in the world? – GEdgar May 8 '16 at 20:36
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    @GEdgar- In Britain, where the study was conducted, vegetarianism is (I think) mostly for moral reasons. In India it's for religious reasons. – PointlessSpike May 9 '16 at 7:30
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    After reading the article I'm sure you got it backwards. The question is "Are intelligent people more likely to go vegetarian?", not the other way around. – Agent_L May 9 '16 at 9:55
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    I wonder if this is true for any difficult, active lifestyle choice motivated by moral considerations, that people with higher IQ from childhood are more likely to make active decisions to change their lifestyle and are more likely to suceed in sticking to them? Trying to think of a suitable equivalent; maybe something like volunteering or supporting charities, or regularly giving blood – user568458 May 9 '16 at 10:55
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    I think you need the study to control for income level. Perhaps vegetarian diets are more expensive than "eat whatever you can get" diets---maybe only people above a certain income level have the choice. And maybe income level is also correlated with IQ. Also, is the question supposed to be about "in Britain" or not? – GEdgar May 9 '16 at 17:18

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