People with high IQs tend to be more careless, disorganised, irresponsible and impulsive, psychological research finds.
These reflect low levels of the the personality trait of conscientiousness, one of the five major aspects of personality.
In other words, high fluid intelligence is linked to low levels of conscientiousness.
The reason may be that people with high fluid intelligence do not need to put in the same effort in order to achieve success.
As a result, they don’t develop high degrees of orderliness and responsibility that the less intelligent need to succeed.
However, these findings only held for fluid intelligence.
Fluid intelligence is, roughly speaking, the speed at which the brain works.
As the study’s authors explain it:
“Fluid intelligence has been defined as our ‘‘on-the-spot reasoning ability, a skill not basically dependent on our experience’’.
It involves things like quick thinking, reasoning, seeing relationships between ideas, approaching new problems, and is considered to be biologically based.
In contrast, crystallised intelligence, which equates to general knowledge, was not linked to being conscientious or otherwise.
The results come from a survey of 201 people across a broad range of ages.
All were given tests of personality and intelligence.
The analysis suggested that people’s intelligence affects how their conscientiousness develops across their lifetimes.
The more intelligent do not need to be so conscientious, so this personality trait is not as strong.
The study’s authors explain:
“…in a competitive environment less intelligent individuals become more Conscientious in order to cope with their disadvantage, or that more intelligent individuals do not become so conscientious, as they can rely on their fluid intelligence to accomplish most tasks.”
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:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
The study was published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences (Moutafi et al., 2004).