A new study has challenged previous research which indicated that ‘night owls’ have superior verbal intelligence.

The team behind the findings has described them as ‘surprising’ after looking more closely at how someone’s daily rhythm and activity levels while both wake and asleep impacts on intelligence.

They also described how young people, who are typically ‘evening types’ have to fight their biological clock as their schedules are set by ‘morning type’ parents and their routines.

Dr Stuart Fogel, a cognitive neuroscientist and professor at the University of Ottawa’s School of Psychology in Canada, said: “We found…that morning types tend to have superior verbal ability. This outcome was surprising to us and signals this is much more complicated that anyone thought before.”

Professor Fogel’s team analysed biological rhythms and daily preferences to determine an individual’s chronotype, which is their evening or morning tendencies and when in the day they prefer to do more demanding things.

Professor Fogel said: “A lot of school start times are not determined by our chronotypes but by parents and work-schedules, so school-aged kids pay the price of that because they are evening types forced to work on a morning type schedule.

“For example, math and science classes are normally scheduled early in the day because whatever morning tendencies they have will serve them well. But the AM is not when they are at their best due to their evening type tendencies. Ultimately, they are disadvantaged because the type of schedule imposed on them is basically fighting against their biological clock every day.”

Read the full study in the journal Current Research in Behavioral Sciences.

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