The 50-hour (or longer) workweek is something Americans wear like a badge of honor. We one-up each other with long hours at the office, overtime, and packed schedules. Are there even people in this world who work less than 40 hours a week? What do those lazy bums do with all that free time, burn sage and make hemp bracelets?
Actually, they're probably much closer to passing that confounded Jeopardy! contestant test than you are -- according to a recent study, people who work fewer hours than the standard workweek end up being smarter. Putting in a ton of hours for The Man isn't just bad for your stress levels and sense of identity; it really messes with your IQ.
Working more than 25 hours a week makes people dumber
Researchers wanted to test the whole "use it or lose it" theory about working adults -- the conventional wisdom says that continuing to hold down a job helps people stay sharp as they get older, an argument often used to defend raising the retirement age.
The results suggest that the hypothesis is true... up to a point. Specifically, up to 25 hours per week, and cognitive function really went downhill when subjects worked 40 or more hours a week. So the steadfast American belief that working longer hours is better for success, mental function, and overall quality of life is totally BS.