Fighting can make you dumb… literally

By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer

Cartoon fighting
Fighting might seem fun in the cartoons, but it just lowers your intelligence in real life. Just avoid aggressive situations, tell a parent or teacher if you’re being picked on, and take deep breaths if you’re feeling angry.

An Intelligence Quotient (IQ) measures a person’s ability to understand complicated things. The average human being has an IQ of around 100. You can do many activities to increase your brain power like reading, getting enough sleep at night, and exercising, but did you know there are several things that have been linked to a decrease in your IQ?

Some of these dumbing activities include doing drugs, eating too much sugar, and watching reality TV shows.  Well, according to a study from Florida State University, fighting might make us dumb too!

“We tend to focus on factors that may result in increases in intelligence over time, but examining [things] that result in decreases may be just as important,” said Joseph A. Schwartz, the researcher who started the study. His research team followed 20,000 middle school and high school students for around six years. They found that students who had been in more fights had lower test scores than the kids who weren’t in any fights. The fighting student tended to have lower IQ points for every fight they had. The IQ loss was even worse with girls! When young men got into physical arguments, they tended to have 2 points less per fight. If any young ladies got into a fight, they tended to lose 3 points per fight.

“It’s no surprise that being severely physically injured results in [bad consequences], but the extent to which such [activities] affect intelligence was quite surprising,” said Joseph A. Schwartz, the researcher who started the study. I knew fighting was bad for many reasons, but I never guessed it would be bad for intelligence! So remember, if you are ever in a heated argument, don’t use your fist to settle the fight. Instead, do the smart thing and talk things out. If there is a bully in school who is bothering you, make sure to tell a parent or teacher for help.

Image of animated fighting courtesy of Cartoon Network: Punch Time ExplosionPapaya Studio, and Crave Entertainment.