Laid back and unhurried people tend to have a higher IQ, psychological research finds.
Intelligent people become more laid back because they can do things quicker than others, so do not need to rush, the authors speculate.
High IQ people also have a tendency towards procrastination — perhaps because another benefit of higher intelligence is being able to start tasks later.
The study also found that higher IQs was linked to be cautious and being a perfectionist.
This may be because being a perfectionist takes longer and people with higher IQs have the patience to wait until the job is done right.
The conclusions come from a study of 722 people who were given personality and IQ tests.
The personality tests focused on conscientiousness, one of the five major traits of personality.
Different aspects of conscientiousness were examined, including being cautious, deliberate, orderly and having a tendency to procrastinate.
The results revealed a consistent link between being unhurried and having a higher IQ.
The study’s authors explain:
“The common feature of these three characteristics (procrastination, perfectionism and caution) is timing or hurriedness.
One possible interpretation of our results is that people with greater cognitive ability tend to be less hurried in their general approach to life’s activities.
This interpretation implies both positive aspects (e.g., the cautiousness involved in checking details, delaying acting, and continuing with tasks until their product is “perfect”) and negative ones (e.g., the tendency to procrastinate).”
The link between procrastination and higher IQ is down to greater abilities, the authors think:
“This suggests a slower internal pace among more intelligent people that more easily allows for interruptions or the incorporation of new information while completing a task.
This is not to imply that more intelligent people are physically slower in their tasks, as in fact they appear to be faster at most tasks.
Rather, we are suggesting that one way in which those demonstrating higher levels of cognitive ability may differ from those exhibiting lower levels of cognitive ability is a behavioral tendency to pace their work or other tasks at less than their maximum potential ability.”
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 of Personality Research (Rikoon et al., 2016).