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The Personality Traits Linked To High IQ

The Personality Traits Linked To High IQ post image

People don’t normally link these traits to being smart.

People with high IQs are more likely to be genuine, cooperative, charitable and sincere, psychological research finds.

Almost half of the link between having these ‘nice’ traits and a high IQ is down to genetics, the study also found.

That is despite the fact that being nice is not normally linked to higher IQ.

Some people think that being too nice is not advantageous in life.

In fact, people with high IQs are better at working well with other people, other studies have found.

That is why those with high IQs are so essential: without them society would not work.

Along with being agreeable, people who are imaginative, sensitive to their feelings, intellectually curious and seekers of variety also have higher IQs.

These are all facets of another of the five major aspects of personality, called openness to experience.

The conclusions come from a study that included data from 2,488 twins.

All were given tests at age 12 and 18 of intelligence and personality, along with genetic modelling.

The study’s authors explain the results:

“Intelligence as measured by IQ was positively associated with
openness to experience and agreeableness.


Moderate phenotypic correlations [genetic associations] between agreeableness and IQ were also of interest.

Earlier studies reported small correlations between intelligence and agreeableness.

There have been a few studies on altruistic behavior in young children that found a positive relation with IQ.”

Being cooperative, in particular, may have strong links to higher IQ, the authors write:

“…unique aspects of human cognition are driven by social cooperation.

The cooperative attitudes of the subjects scoring high on agreeableness could therefore be the shared underlying factor in the relationship with IQ.”

About the author

Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.

He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2003) and several ebooks:

Dr Dean’s bio, Twitter, Facebook and how to contact him.

The study was published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences (Bartels et al., 2012).