Just being nice is not enough, you need to be intelligent too to earn more and achieve success, a new study suggested. Researchers devised a series of games to find out which factors lead to cooperative behaviour when people interact in social and workplace situations.
The findings showed that people with a higher IQ displayed significantly higher levels of cooperation, which in turn led to earning more money as part of the game.
"Through our research, we find overwhelming support for the idea that intelligence is the primary condition for a socially cohesive, cooperative society," said study co-author Eugenio Proto, a Professor at the University of Bristol in UK.
"A good heart and good behaviour have an effect too but it's transitory and small," Proto said.
According to the researchers, personality traits such as agreeableness, conscientiousness, trust and generosity also affect behaviour, but in smaller measure, and only initially.
For the study, to be published in the Journal of Political Economy, the researchers involved four different games which were representative of different and very specific strategic situations.
Interactions were repeated, giving time and opportunity for each participant to observe and to reflect on the past behaviour of the other.
Where the strategy game involved a trade-off between current and future gains, those with a higher IQ won more money per round. The findings have potentially important implications for policy, especially in the education sector, as well as international trade.
"With education, our results suggest that focussing on intelligence in early childhood could potentially enhance not only the economic success of the individual, but the level of cooperation in society in later life," said Andis Sofianos from the University of Heidelberg.