Being open to experience is strongly linked to a superior IQ, according to psychological research.
People who are open to experience are more likely to be imaginative, sensitive to their feelings, intellectually curious and seekers of variety.
Openness to experience also measures how much you like trying out new ideas or activities.
The results come from a survey of 146 students who were asked about their personalities and intelligence.
Openness to experience — one of the five major aspects of personality — consistently had the strongest links to intelligence.
The study’s author, Dr Scott Barry Kaufman, explains:
“Openness to experience is the broadest personality domain of the Big Five, including a mix of traits relating to intellectual curiosity, intellectual interests, perceived intelligence, imagination, creativity, artistic and aesthetic interests, emotional and fantasy richness, and unconventionality.”
In particular, both aesthetic and intellectual engagement were strongly related to intelligence.
People who are intellectually engaged:
- enjoy coming up with new solutions to problems,
- find abstract thinking pleasurable,
- and like reading.
People who are aesthetically engaged enjoy searching for beauty in things like:
- drawing or painting,
- going to the cinema,
- and playing a musical instrument.
Studies also find that being open to experience is linked to greater creativity.
The willingness to explore both the inner mind and the wider world marks out a person of both greater intellectual abilities and higher creativity.
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The study was published in The Journal of Creative Behavior (Kaufman, 2013).