Chronobiology International
Published online: 20 May 2021

Péter P. Ujmaa,b & Vsevolod Scherrerc
a. Semmelweis University, Institute of Behavioural Sciences, Budapest, Hungary
b. National Institute of Clinical Neuroscience, Budapest, Hungary
c. University of Trier, Institute of Psychology, Trier, Germany

DOI: 10.1080/07420528.2021.1926473



A large number of previous studies reported a link between circadian preference and psychometric intelligence with mixed results and various hypotheses about the source of this correlation. In this study, we aimed to update a previous meta-analysis about the correlation between circadian preference and intelligence. Our literature search identified a large number of new studies, resulting in an increase of over 100% in the number of studies and over 400% in the number of involved participants (total k = 30, total N = 11160) over the previous meta-analysis, sampling a much wider age range from children to adults in late middle age. Our meta-analysis revealed no significant link between morningness and intelligence (r = −0.008) when the entire sample was studied, and no evidence for publication bias. This overall effect, however, obscured the moderating effect of age. The morningness-intelligence correlation decreased with mean sample age (R2 = 54%), ranging from a non-significant positive trend in children and adolescents to a significant negative correlation after young adulthood. Eveningness was positively correlated with intelligence (r = 0.056), but this finding is based on a more age-restricted sample and only reached significance with some model specifications. We hypothesize that the age-moderated correlation between circadian preference and intelligence reflects social effects, where more intelligent individuals are more able to adjust their daily schedules to their natural circadian rhythm.

KEYWORDS: circadian preference, chronotype, IQ, cognitive ability, meta-analysis