Does wearing glasses mean you’re smarter?

As a previous Bronx assistant district lawyer and author of the legal post “Eye See You: How Legal Defendants Have Utilized the Nerd Defense to Impact Jurors’ Perceptions,” Sarah Mariucci informed me that glasses are “associated with reading, sizeable amounts of reading through in childhood times, a nerd persona, a smart persona.”

This point has created me incredibly jealous of people today who use glasses. I just experienced an eye test, and, as with each and every before eye examination, I was uncovered to have fantastic eyesight.

But ought to I be apprehensive? Does needing glasses suggest you are smarter? And just the place did our stereotypes about glasses — great and poor — arrive from?

That is the issue of the most recent episode of my podcast, “Margins of Error,” where we go past the information cycle and deal with the topics that we confront just about every working day.

It turns out that the background of glasses is far more sophisticated than I ever imagined.

While glasses had been probably 1st invented in the early 1300s, they failed to actually proliferate until the 18th century, when people begun making glasses with temples, so you could walk around devoid of them slipping off.
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Glasses ended up not fashionable at initially, enable by itself remotely awesome.

Neil Handley, curator of the British Optical Association Museum, explained to me to seem at the people in early paintings carrying eyeglasses: “They’re moneylenders. They are misers, they are govt officers — people today who we wish would flip a blind eye to us, but they will not.”

Misers? Moneylenders? According to Handley, this bias versus eyeglasses — which was normally just thinly veiled antisemitism — was so pervasive, that folks who required eyeglasses just would not put on them.

But it was not just frequent folks who ended up anxious about how they’d appear if they wore glasses. It was a remarkably calculated final decision for higher-profile politicians, way too.

Handley talked about that Adolf Hitler was a notorious example of another person who wore glasses but refused to be photographed in them. He was not the only world chief who averted staying found in his lenses. In simple fact, in their formal White House portraits, only three Presidents are painted sporting eyeglasses: Teddy Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson and Harry Truman.

Glasses were not fashionable at first, but the cool nerd vibe has become a recent phenomenon.

When did our perceptions of glasses start off to improve to extra of a cool nerd vibe? It really is only in the final few a long time, and Handley, a great deal to my chagrin, said that it could nicely have been mainly because of Harry Potter.

Of program, defense attorneys have identified for decades that eyeglasses can make another person surface smarter. They have extensive been striving the “nerd protection.” Bear in mind when now convicted killer Jodi Arias was accused of placing on eyeglasses for the jury? If she was doing it to appear less responsible, the approach didn’t function.

That has not stopped other individuals from seeking. Mariucci pointed out that when a defendant is accused of “a violent crime and you might be putting on eyeglasses, you happen to be just a lot less intimidating to the jury.” Protection attorneys are trying to get the jury to consider “seem how sweet and intelligent and nerdy and peaceful (the defendant) appear(s).”

All of this is striving to get at a juror’s “unconscious believed system” that persons with glasses are far too smart to have fully commited a violent crime.

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And it turns out, society’s stereotypes may have a basis in truth. I spoke to Michelle Luciano, a behavioral geneticist and lecturer at the College of Edinburgh in Scotland. She worked on a 2018 research involving around 300,000 individuals that set out to study the human genome in its entirety and see if you can find any variety of genetic marker tied to larger cognitive functionality.

The analyze located that there was some marriage in between myopia, or nearsightedness, and intelligence, but there is certainly a ton of other stuff likely on, as well. (For the nerds out there, there was a +.32 correlation involving the two variables.)

Of class, I’m reminded of a phrase “correlation does not indicate causation.” Needing to don eyeglasses may be joined to intelligence, but it does not imply undesirable vision is triggering intelligence to increase.

So, does a causal partnership exist? Effectively, you will have to tune in to discover out. I may even try out on some eyeglasses for the sake of science.