One of the problems with the intelligence study you cite is that, while the nocturnal group likely is made up of individuals who prefer to be “night owls” (assuming a minimal number of people working night shifts, etc.), any group of earlier risers is going to be a mixed group of those who prefer to get up early and those who have to for work or family reasons. And, in intelligence studies, those night owls dressed as larks will potentially score lower during intelligence testing since they aren’t following their circadian rhythms — i.e., they are a bit sleep-deprived all the time.
So, IMHO, the message may really be to be true to your rhythm for maximal performance from yourself. As you suggest at the end of your article.
Having said that, I am by preference a night owl, but western society is not built for us — job schedules, client availability even for the self-employed, family and other social relationships — one sacrifices all of these if one tries to work when others are socializing or not work when it’s expected.
Only when writing my dissertation and living alone could I work to my own schedule. Sigh… ;-)