Not such a bright guy? Neither are his little guys.
Okay, that’s taking it a little too far. But a study from the UK Institute of Psychiatry published in the journal Intelligence claims to have found direct correlations between a man’s mental aptitude and the cleverness of his sperm.
Working with data from 425 U.S. servicemen in the Vietnam War, the research team found that, “independently of age and lifestyle, intelligence was correlated with all three measures of sperm quality – numbers, concentration, and ability to move.”
Other than making themselves feel better, the scientists are interested in the genetics of intelligence and how they might be related to other measures of fitness and health, such as sperminess. While the statistical links found are small, the researchers say they are valid and telling and cannot be the result of lifestyle factors; it’s not going to make a great difference in their ability to conceive, but men of above-average intelligence definitely tend to produce above-average sperm, the study says.
From BBC News:
Lead researcher Dr Rosalind Arden said: “This does not mean that men who prefer Play-Doh to Plato always have poor sperm: the relationship we found was marginal.
“But our results do support the theoretically important ‘fitness factor’ idea.
“We look forward to seeing if the results can be replicated in other data sets, with other measures of intelligence and other measures of physical health that are also strongly related to evolutionary fitness.”
Dr Allan Pacey is an expert in fertility at the University of Sheffield.
He said: “The fact that it’s possible to detect a statistical relationship between intelligence and semen quality in adult men probably says more about the co-development of brain and testicles when the man was in his mother’s womb, and therefore how well they both function in adult life, rather than suggesting that playing Sudoku can somehow stimulate more sperm to be produced.
“The improvement in semen quality with intelligence observed in this paper is small and therefore it is unlikely to have a big impact on the ability of men of different intelligences to conceive.”