Having smart friends makes us smarter, study finds

Can our friends make us smarter through their influence on us? A pioneering study of human behavior analyzes this premise and establishes a strong relationship between classmates who socialize with more or less intelligent people.

The Florida International University prepared a report titled: Can Our Friends Make Us Smarter? (Can our friends make us smarter?) In collaboration with the Federal Department of Criminology and the International School of Public Relations in the same state. This article shows the results of a research conducted by Professor Ryan Charles Meldrum gives very interesting results. But let’s start with the basics.

  • This article by psychologist Bertrand Regader may be interesting: “Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences”

What is intelligence?

Intelligence is the ability or ability of people to act correctly based on their goals and the options available. Beyond IQ and other measures of cognitive potential, an intelligent person will be the one who will know how to choose the best option among the possibleBe able to do what is best for you in each situation and at all times. It can also be understood as the ability of individuals to absorb data, process it, understand it and use this knowledge in the best possible way.

    Does it make us smarter to have smart friends?

    From the moment we started to realize and until we entered the circle of social development, our parents influence us because we surround ourselves with good friendships. “Don’t go with this friend”, “join Pepito who is ready”, etc. these are some of the phrases we identify the most when it comes to remembering some of the upbringing we received from our family. Obviously, depending on which group we belong to, this will directly influence our behavior and personal development.

    Interpersonal relationships with friends are largely determined by our home environment, social strata, and future aspirations instilled in us or which, on a personal level, we aim to achieve even though they are different from those acquired during childhood.

    But … Does it really influence us as much to relate to this or that type of person? In many ways, yes, and it is now known that this could affect even our level of intelligence, at least if certain conditions are met.

    Puberty, a key moment

    A large base of studies is based on the subject of the influence of the environment on our cognitive abilities. The groups or individuals we join will have a particular impact on our behavior. The work done by the Florida International University reveals the impact of our environment on a personal level: our behavior, our cultural feeling and our professional perspective.

    The children of immigrant parents in most Western countries are an exceptional example in this regard. The family nucleus is very tight, because it uses the mother tongue and its cultural values. If the firstborn of this family meets, associates and develops with the local populations, he will end up adopting the same behaviors anyway, no matter how deeply rooted he has with his parents.

    In light of these precedents, Ryan Charles and his counterparts decided to pursue the matter further. They took as a starting point nearly 10,000 high school students, Adolescence, and measured their level of intelligence with that of their peers. Each individual’s IQ correlated with the IQ of their friend or the group they belonged to.

    However, what was striking was that this fact corresponded to a very striking phenomenon: people who were related to smarter colleagues, had a higher IQ than one would expect taking as parameters the results of their intelligence tests taken years ago.

    So, what was recorded in this study is not simply that people with a higher CI identify with each other more. We have seen that the fact being part of these social circles has a positive effect on one’s own intelligence, At least during childhood and adolescence.

    During the research, it was wanted to specify even more in the results. Another 7,000 pupils aged 8 to 16 were taken away and the results were similar. Children who grew up in groups with better academic grades obtained better transcripts to enter higher education.


    It seems that adolescence is the key to studying. Some previous experiences have also confirmed the effects of “bad or good companies” between the periods of primary and secondary education, effects that have lost strength and consistency when comparing these data with academic time. According to the latest findings, there is a missing link that does not correlate teenage friendships with adulthood.

    To make matters worse, relationships with a healthy environment not only bring intellectual benefits, but also seek good development of social behavior. Among other advantages, having a high CI allows access to a support network with more resources.

    Leave a Comment