A hunger for new, unconventional ideas is one of the strongest indicators of high IQ, research finds.
People with high IQs are intellectually curious and enjoy things like unusual activities, philosophical arguments and brain teasers.
This desire for new ideas is linked to an aspect of IQ called fluid intelligence.
Fluid intelligence refers to the speed at which the brain works.
It is like the raw power of an engine or the speed at which a computer can process information.
Fluid intelligence is contrasted with crystallised intelligence.
Crystallised intelligence is something like general knowledge: the information that people have learnt about the world over the years.
The conclusions come from a study of 2,658 employees working at 10 different companies in the UK.
They were all given tests of personality and intelligence.
The results showed that high fluid intelligence was linked to hunger for new ideas.
Like an interest in ideas, being willing to try new activities was also linked to intelligence, the authors write:
“Actions refers to willingness to try different activities, and to a preference for novelty and variety over familiarity and routine.
Fluid intelligence involves things like reaction times, quick thinking, reasoning, seeing relationships and approaching new problems.
This means that individuals high on [fluid intelligence] have an innate ability to cope more efficiently with novel experiences, and to deal with intellectually stimulating tasks such as brain teasers, which would thus make it rewarding for them to pursuit such activities.
Similarly, individuals low on [fluid intelligence] may in time grow to avoid such activities, due to their low ability to handle them, which would thus make them less rewarding.”
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 Learning and Individual Differences (Moutafi et al., 2006).