People whose personalities can accept vagueness and confusion tend to have a higher IQ, new research finds.
Those who accept ambiguity tend to be open-minded, creative and relaxed about problems that do not have a definitive answer.
Given that the world is filled with grey areas, this allows those who can accept ambiguity to make better decisions.
Other personality traits linked to high IQ are taking risks, being conscientious and being competitive.
Conscientiousness is a sign of higher fluid intelligence, which is the speed at which the brain works.
People with higher IQs are also more likely to have ‘Type A’ personalities, which are characterised by a competitive nature.
The conclusions come from a study of 820 people in the UK who completed assessments of their personality and intelligence.
The personality traits are part of the High Potential Traits Inventory, which is, the authors write a:
“…measure of personality traits directly relevant to workplace behaviours, thoughts and perceptions of the self and others at work.”
Four personality factors were linked to intelligence.
Being able to cope with vagueness is a strong sign of high IQ, the authors write:
“This study found that multiple intelligence measures were predictive of higher tolerance of uncertainty.
Previous researchers have found that more intelligent
individuals are able to adequately adapt to and evaluate
changing work tasks, leading to greater accuracy in decision-making.”
People who are curious also had higher IQs the study found:
“Curiosity – marked by high openness, creativity, imagination, and cognitive complexity – was hypothesised to associate with higher levels of intelligence.
individuals high on curiosity exhibited higher levels of WM 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 Personality and Individual Differences (Furnham & Treglown, 2018).