10 Weird Signs You Are Highly Intelligent According To Science
In the real world, spotting intelligent people isn’t quite as simple as looking for people who babble gibberish like Benedict Cumberbatch in Sherlock.
But scientific studies have shown that there are a few traits which are linked to high intelligence – and some of these are rather surprising.
You learn from your mistakes
Intelligent people recognise that they have made mistakes – and learn from them quickly. A study by Michigan University researchers found that people who believe they can learn from mistakes – rather than believing that intelligence is ‘fixed’ – will actually take the opportunity to learn, while others miss it.
You can argue intelligently Credit: Getty Images People who can argue points without offending other people – and without ‘digging in’ and ignoring other viewpoints – tend to be more intelligent.
Dr Travis Bradberry, author of Emotional Intelligence 2.0, says, ‘ When you approach a disagreement with emotional intelligence it has the opposite effect—it strengthens the relationship by showing the other person that you respect him or her, even when you don’t agree with his or her opinion.’ A neurological study conducted by Jason S. Moser of Michigan State University has shown that the brains of smart people actually react differently to mistakes.
You don’t think you’re intelligent
People who are above average intelligence don’t tend to think they are clever – but stupid people do, a phenomenon known as ‘the Dunning-Kruger effect’ Dunning and Kruger wrote, ‘Across four studies, the authors found that participants scoring in the bottom quartile on tests of humor, grammar, and logic grossly overestimated their test performance and ability.
Although test scores put them in the 12th percentile, they estimated themselves to be in the 62nd.’
You enjoy sick jokes
Research from the University of Vienna showing that sick joke fans tend to score higher on verbal and nonverbal intelligence.
The researchers got 159 adults to rate ‘sick’ cartoons – and then measured them using standard intelligence and psychological tests.
The researchers write, ‘These results support the hypothesis that humour processing involves cognitive as well as affective components and suggest that these variables influence the execution of frame-shifting and conceptual blending in the course of humour processing’
You enjoy being alone
Researchers from the LSE and Singapore Management University analysed data from a large survey involving 15,000 people aged 18 to 28 – who also underwent IQ tests.
They found that, for both low-IQ and high-IQ individuals, living in highly populated areas was linked to unhappiness.
But for highly intelligent people, even socialising with friends was linked to unhappiness. The researchers write, ‘More intelligent individuals experience lower life satisfaction with more frequent socialization with friends.’ ‘The effect of population density on life satisfaction was therefore more than twice as large for low-IQ individuals than for high-IQ individuals.’
You’re physically lazy
Many of us tend to look down on slobs who sit watching Netflix all night and never drag themselves to the gym.
But physical laziness might actually be a sign that someone is a deep thinker, a new study has suggested.
Researchers from Florida Gulf Coast University rated 60 volunteers using a ‘Need for Cognition’ test – dividing them into ‘thinkers’ and ‘non-thinkers’. They then monitored their physical activity for a week – and found that the ‘non-thinkers’ tended to be much more active than the thinkers.
The researchers write, ‘High-NFC individuals seem more content to “entertain themselves” mentally, whereas low-NFC individuals quickly experience boredom and experience it more negatively.
‘The relationship between cognition and physical activity is an important question for the human experience, and the interaction likely extends across the lifespan.’
You have used illegal drugs
Intelligent people don’t necessarily do the most intelligent things – and large-scale studies have shown that more intelligent children are more likely to consume psychoactive drugs as adults.
Studies have shown that children with high IQs are more likely to struggle with alcohol abuse – and a 2012 study in Annals of Epidemiology found that high IQ was also associated with drug use. Based on the 1958 Child Development Survey, the researchers followed 6713 children whose IQ was measured at 11, and who answered questions about drug use at age 42.
The researchers found that in women, higher IQ scores meant a higher risk of using cannabis, amphetamines, magic mushrooms and cocaine.
You don’t believe in God
Religious people are less intelligent than non-believers, according to a review of 63 scientific studies stretching back over decades.
A team led by Miron Zuckermann of the University of Rochester found “a reliable negative relation between intelligence and religiosity” in 53 out of 63 studies One reason for this could be that intelligent people are more likely to be married, and more likely to be successful in life – and this may mean they “need” religion less.
The studies included a life-long analysis of the beliefs of a group of 1,500 gifted children – those with IQs over 135 – in a study which began in 1921 and continues today.
You don’t post ‘inspirational’ messages on Facebook
A study linked people who are receptive to Facebook ‘memes’ full of buzzword-heavy statements and quotes to lower cognitive scores – ie low intelligence.
Researchers at the University of Waterloo, in Ontario, asked 845 volunteers to evaluate a series of statements on how profound they were – and if they agreed with them.
Some of the statements were actually meaningless – such as ‘attention and intention are the mechanics of Manifestation’ and ‘imagination is inside exponential space time events’.
Others were from the author and New Age guru Deepak Chopra, who said, ‘nature is a self-regulating ecosystem of awareness.’
Others included, ‘Hidden meaning transforms unparalleled abstract beauty,’ and ‘Imagination is inside exponential space time events.’ The researchers found that people who rated the statements highly as being profound were less intelligent – and more likely to believe in conspiracy theories.
You’re the first child in your family
First born children are usually the cleverest, with measurable differences in IQ as early as age one – and it’s thanks to their parents.
Researchers at Edinburgh University found that all children received similar levels of emotional support from their parents – but first borns had more support with tasks which developed their thinking skills.
Researchers say the findings could help to explain the so-called birth order effect when children born earlier in a family enjoy better wages and more education in later life. Researchers observed 5,000 children from birth to age 14, testing them every two years with assessments including reading recognition.