The intelligence of its people 'can contribute to a nation's economic strength'

The intelligence of a nation's people can play a considerable role in its economic strength, it has been found.

Heiner Rindermann of the Chemnitz University of Technology and James Thompson of University College London looked at test scores from 90 countries to determine whether how smart its people are has an effect on a nation's wealth.

The study is to be published in a forthcoming issue of Psychological Science and the researchers discovered that intelligence can have an influence on gross domestic product - especially when a nation's smartest five per cent were seen to get cleverer.

Mr Rindermann noted: "Within a society, the level of the most intelligent people is important for economic productivity," adding these individuals are relevant for "technological progress, for innovation, for leading a nation, for leading organisations [and] as entrepreneurs".

Commenting on the investigation, Chartered Psychologist Dr James Thompson said: "Economists sometimes regard real human beings as a distraction in their theoretical models and prefer to deal with abstract, rational, one-size-fits-all economic units instead."

"This certainly makes it easier to say that wealth grows out of the soil, either from the surface in terms of harvests, or a bit deeper down in the case of iron ore, coal and other natural resources."

"Geography influences how economies get started, but whether they flourish depends on people, and how they solve problems of production and social organisation."

"All problem-solving requires natural wit and the degree to which people can exercise that wit seems to have a causal effect on national wealth."

"In addition, the actual intellectual level of the brightest 5 per cent of society makes an additional contribution."

"The cleverest cognitive elites make their peoples richer and their societies more agreeable to live in, which of itself seems to boost intelligence."