News8 traits that suggest you're smarter than you think

8 traits that suggest you're smarter than you think

The conclusions drawn from intelligence studies can sometimes be surprising and may change the self-esteem of people who do not consider themselves particularly intelligent.
The conclusions drawn from intelligence studies can sometimes be surprising and may change the self-esteem of people who do not consider themselves particularly intelligent.
Images source: © Getty Images | Bettmann
ed. SAS
8:21 PM EDT, October 19, 2023

Scientific research on intelligence has been conducted for many years by scientists from various fields. Their results often surprise, showing that some traits, which are commonly considered flaws, might actually be associated with a higher level of intelligence.

Intelligence is not always easy to identify, and its definition may vary depending on the context. It can be understood as the ability to learn, solve problems, perceive relationships, effectively use acquired knowledge, or adapt to new conditions.

There are even more scientific studies on intelligence than there are definitions of it, and the conclusions drawn from them can sometimes be surprising and can change the self-assessment of people who do not consider themselves particularly intelligent. Below, we present some of the traits described in studies that might suggest you are underestimating your own intelligence.

1. You don't consider yourself a particularly intelligent person

There is a well-known saying "I know that I know nothing," which is attributed to Socrates, one of the first philosophers. Today, this phenomenon has been described as the Dunning-Kruger effect. Research conducted by Justin Kruger and David Dunning from Cornell University showed that unqualified people tend to overestimate their abilities, while experts often underestimate their skills.

2. You learned to read faster than your peers

In 2014, Stuart J. Ritchie, Timothy C. Bates, and Robert Plomin presented the results of a study conducted on a group of nearly 2,000 pairs of identical twins. It turns out that children who mastered reading skills faster achieved much better results in cognitive ability tests than their identical siblings. Early correction of reading problems can not only help in the development of reading and writing skills but also improve more general cognitive abilities, which play a key role throughout life. According to the authors of the study, reading at a young age increases verbal and non-verbal intelligence.

3. You are the firstborn child

Petter Kristensen and Tor Bjerkedal, scientists from the University of Oslo, described in 2007 the relationship between the birth order of children and their intelligence. According to them, the oldest child in the family is usually the smartest. Although this is not a fixed rule, firstborn children do better academically and have more self-confidence. Scientists believe this is due to the level of parents' involvement in raising subsequent children. Those born second and third in order tend to have slightly lower cognitive test scores.

4. You have a sense of humor. You also appreciate dark humor

Another characteristic that suggests you're an intelligent person is a sense of humor. In 2010, a study was published that was conducted jointly by scholars from the anthropology and psychology departments at the University of New Mexico in the USA. The study involved 400 students (200 men and 200 women). They first solved tests designed to determine the level of their verbal and non-verbal intelligence, then they were tasked with coming up with funny captions for selected cartoon humor, known from the "New Yorker" magazine. The captions were evaluated by individuals unassociated with the authors of the research. It turned out that the funnier captions were crafted by those study participants who scored higher in the intelligence tests.

Interesting conclusions also come from a study published in 2017 in Cognitive Processing. Its results suggest that people who perform better in verbal and nonverbal intelligence tests, appreciate dark humor more than other people. According to research, a preference for this type of joke is not associated with a higher level of aggression or emotional instability. Instead, it usually goes hand in hand with a higher level of education.

5. You are a slob

A study conducted by scientists under the leadership of Kathleen Vohs at the University of Minnesota and published in 2013 in "Psychological Science" demonstrates that clutter can stimulate creativity. In the scientific experiment, 48 people participated, who were divided into two groups. Each of the groups had the same task: to invent new uses for a ping-pong ball. However, one group worked in a clean room, and the other in a cluttered one. As it turned out, both groups developed the same number of uses, but those who showed less creativity had order around them. However, one can't definitely say that every messy person has higher intelligence than a person who likes order; such a linear simplification does not work.

6. You are not an early bird

In 2009, Satoshi Kanazawa, a British evolutionary psychologist and lecturer at the London School of Economics, and Kaja Perina, editor-in-chief of "Psychology Today", published a study devoted to the relationship between intelligence and circadian rhythm, or, in simple terms, whether someone is a night owl or an early bird. "Ethnographic studies of traditional societies suggest that nocturnal activities were probably rare in the environment of our ancestors," we read in the publication. Kanazawa and Perina in their study defended the hypothesis that more intelligent people are more prone to a nocturnal lifestyle than less intelligent ones, as it is easier for them to assimilate "evolutionarily new values and preferences".

7. Sometimes you need solitude

Satoshi Kanazawa conducted another interesting study, this time with Norman P Li from Singapore Management University. They described it in 2016 in the "British journal of psychology". The scientists jointly proved that people with a high intelligence quotient do not need the company of other people to feel happy. On the contrary: exceptionally intelligent individuals experience less life satisfaction, the more time they spend among people, even if they are friends.

8. You are left-handed

A significant correlation also exists between intelligence and left-handedness. Alan Searleman from St. Lawrence University claims that left-handed people are more intelligent than those who use their right hand, specifically, they have a richer vocabulary. The author of the study explains this by saying that left-handedness requires more effort, which has a positive impact on efficiency. Left-handed children are often taught to use their right hand as well. It happens that left-handed people can use their right hand just as well as their left. This impacts the development of both hemispheres of the brain - they are stimulated to a similar extent, which improves their efficiency. Left-handed people are often more creative and demonstrate out-of-the-box thinking.

Interestingly, Albert Einstein is often listed among famous left-handers. Unfortunately, that's a myth, as there are many photos of him, for example, with chalk in his right hand. However, the results of Einstein's autopsy are available (referring to them in 2009 in the "American Psychology Association" was Michael Price), which state that his brain did not reflect the typical left hemisphere domination in the areas of language and speech common for right-handers. The hemispheres of the brilliant physicist's brain were more symmetrical — a feature typical of left-handers and ambidextrous people.

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