4 Personality Traits Linked To High IQ

These traits are all linked to having higher intelligence. 

These traits are all linked to having higher intelligence.

Having an active fantasy life, appreciating beauty, being emotionally sensitive and wide-ranging curiosity are linked to high IQ, research finds.

All of these are components of the major personality trait of ‘openness to experience’.

People who are open to experience are more interested in things that are complex, new and unconventional.

They are sensitive to their feelings, intellectually curious and seekers of variety.

Curiosity has an especially strong link to high IQ.

This may be because higher intelligence drives a ‘cognitive hunger’.

This encourages people to seek out new experiences to satiate the hunger.

The conclusions come from a study of 17,415 people from the UK.

They were given intelligence and personality tests and followed for 40 years.

The results showed the remarkable strength of the link between openness to experience and IQ.

The study’s authors explain their results:

“…childhood intelligence is indeed positively associated with adult trait Openness, even when it was assessed almost four decades earlier when participants were at 11 years.

Intelligence may influence the development of personality in that intelligent people develop habits to satisfy their curiosity and ‘‘cognitive hunger’’ which are an essential ingredient of Openness.”

The study’s authors think that it is high IQ that drives openness to experience:

“Parents of higher socioeconomic status may foster children’s trait Openness by providing better resources such as choosing good schools and cultural environment (theaters, museums, traveling abroad, etc.); intelligent children tend to use more mental activities (such as abstract ideas, learning new vocabularies, or math formulas) than those who are less intelligent; school settings (quality of teaching, good facilities) may enhance pupils to engage more in school learning.

All these three factors may influence educational and
occupational achievement, which in turn, may increase
the scores on Openness.”

The study was published in the Journal of Individual Differences (Furnham & Cheng, 2016).

An Emotional Sign You Have Very High Intelligence

This upbeat emotion is linked to having higher intelligence.

This upbeat emotion is linked to having higher intelligence.

People who feel happier tend to have a higher IQ, studies find.

In fact, experiencing positive emotions, feeling lively and wide awake all predict higher intelligence.

The idea that more intelligent people tend to be grumpy or unhappy is probably not true, on average.

Part of this link between intelligence and happiness may be down to life circumstances.

More intelligent people tend to be better off, have higher levels of education and consequently have better jobs.

The findings come from a survey of 6,870 people who were given tests of happiness and IQ.

The results showed that people with higher IQs (120-129) were happier than those with lower IQs (70-99).

The average IQ across the whole population is 100.

The study’s authors write:

“In this large nationally representative study, we found that IQ is associated with self-reported happiness, which provides support for our hypothesis.

Levels of happiness were lowest in the lower IQ groups and highest in the higher IQ groups.”

People with higher IQs tend to have better health, the study also found.

Poor health may be linked to low IQ due to lower learning abilities, the study’s authors write:

“One study suggests that people with lower IQ are more
likely to experience health problems because of a reduced
propensity to learn, reason and problem-solve, and because of difficulties in adhering to complex treatments, which often require following detailed instructions, and self-monitoring.”

Another study has shown that stable happiness is also a sign of higher IQ.

People with higher IQs are just as happy at 31-years-old as they are at 51.

More intelligent people experience fewer drops in their happiness over the years.

In contrast, the happiness of people with lower IQs is not just lower overall, but also goes up and down more over the years.

The study was published in the journal Psychological Medicine (Ali et al., 2013).

Liking This Type Of Music Is A Sign Of High IQ

The type of music that signals a high IQ.

The type of music that signals a high IQ..

People who like instrumental music tend to have higher IQs, research finds.

Instrumental music includes everything that does not have lyrics, such as ambient, classical, smooth jazz, big band and some film soundtracks.

Almost everyone, whatever their IQ, though, likes vocal music.

A preference for vocal music does not provide a signal about intelligence.

The reason that higher IQ is linked to the preference for instrumental music has nothing to do with the cognitive complexity of the music.

Opera, for example, is often seen as complex, but it says nothing about people’s intelligence.

The study’s authors write:

“It would be difficult to make the case that big-band music is more cognitively complex than classical music.

On the other extreme, as suspected, preference for rap music is significantly negatively correlated with intelligence.

However, preference for gospel music is even more strongly negatively correlated with it.

It would be difficult to make the case that gospel is less cognitively complex than rap.”

The conclusions come from two surveys of thousands of people who were asked about their musical preferences and given IQ tests.

Both found a link between higher intelligence and preference for instrumental music.

The results showed that…

“…net of age, race, sex, education, family income, religion, current and past marital status and number of children, more intelligent Americans are more likely to prefer instrumental music such as big band, classical and easy listening than less-intelligent Americans.”

An evolutionary explanation

The explanation for this link between IQ and musical preferences may go back into our evolutionary past.

Dr Satoshi Kanazawa, the study’s co-author, thinks that instrumental musical is more ‘evolutionary novel’ and therefore linked to a higher IQ.

This explanation is highly debatable (see Dutton, 2013), but the link is still fascinating.

The study was published in the Journal of Behavioral Decision Making (Kanazawa & Perina, 2011).

A Special Sign That You Have A High IQ

An easy way to tell that you have higher intelligence.

An easy way to tell that you have higher intelligence.

Being a free spirit and refusing to conform with others is a sign of high IQ, research finds.

People with higher intelligence are less likely to follow the crowd, preferring to make their own decisions.

As a species, humans are remarkably open to social influence: people like to copy others, feeling that there is safety in numbers.

However, the effect can be damaging as some will deny their own senses to go along with others.

Instead, those with higher IQs only follow the crowd strategically.

For the study, 101 people were given a test that involved comparing the lengths of different lines.

They only had to decide which was longest, but not until they had been informed what other people thought.

The results clearly showed that people would deny information from their own senses to fit in with what other people thought.

In other words, many people preferred to be in the majority, rather than to be correct.

However, more intelligent people were less likely to go along with the majority.

The classic study on social influence (the Asch conformity experiment) was carried out by Professor Solomon Asch almost 70 years ago.

He found that 76% of people denied their own senses at least once to go along with others.

Often, though, social conformity is no bad thing, said Dr Michael Muthukrishna, who led the study:

“People are conformist – and that’s a good thing for cultural evolution.

By being conformist, we copy the things that are popular in the world.

And those things are often good and useful.

Our whole world is made up of things that we do that are good for us, but we don’t know why.

And we don’t need to know why.

We just need to know that most people do those things.”

→ Discover 22 more signs of intelligence.

The study was published in the journal Evolution and Behavior (Muthukrishna et al., 2015).

A Major Personality Trait Linked To High IQ

People with high fluid intelligence think quickly and see relationships between ideas.

People with high fluid intelligence think quickly and see relationships between ideas.

Laid back people — who can be disorganised and careless — tend to have higher IQs, one study suggests.

These traits are part of one of the five major aspects of personality called conscientiousness — or, in this case, lack of conscientiousness.

Being low on the personality trait of conscientiousness is linked to higher fluid intelligence, the researchers found.

One of the reasons may be that a quick mind can make up for what a person lacks in discipline.

As a result, those with higher IQs can afford to be more relaxed because they do not have to work so hard to achieve the same success.

Fluid intelligence is one of two types of intelligence and refers, roughly speaking to 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.”

Fluid intelligence is in contrast to concrete intelligence, which refers to something like general knowledge: the things that people have learnt over their lifetime.

The study included 201 adults of all ages who were given tests of both intelligence and personality.

The results showed that while crystallised intelligence was not linked to lacking conscientiousness, fluid intelligence was.

It may be because people with higher fluid intelligence do not have to work as hard, so they become more laid back over the years.

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.”

The study was published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences (Moutafi et al., 2004).

The Confident Sign Of High IQ

This bold and confident sign is linked to higher academic achievement.

This bold and confident sign is linked to higher academic achievement.

People who are very sure of their intellectual abilities are, in fact, smarter than others, research finds.

Intellectual arrogance was linked to achieving higher grades in the study.

People who are intellectually arrogant tend to agree with statements like, “I believe my own ideas are superior to others.”

People are seen as intellectually arrogant by others when they are extraverted and dominate the group, wanting to be the centre of attention.

Professor Wade C. Rowatt, study co-author, said:

“One possibility is that people who view themselves as intellectually arrogant know what they know and that translates to increases in academic performance.”

For the study, the work of 103 students was followed over a semester.

The results showed that those who felt they were superior to others performed better in their coursework.

However, people who were more humble about their abilities were liked better by their peers.

So, intellectual arrogance may come with a penalty to social relationships.

The study’s authors were surprised by the results: they had predicted that intellectual humility would be linked to better performance.

However, this was not the case.

Dr Benjamin R. Meagher, the study’s first author, still thinks humility is a vital trait:

“What I think is important about intellectual humility is its necessity for not only science, but for just learning generally — and that applies to the classroom, a work setting, wherever.

Learning something new requires first acknowledging your own ignorance and being willing to make your ignorance known to others.

People clearly differ in terms of their willingness to do something like that, but that willingness to learn, change one’s mind and value the opinion of others is really needed if people and groups are going to develop and grow.”

The study was published in the Journal of Research in Personality (Meagher et al., 2015).

A Fascinating Sign That You Have A High IQ

There is a particular musical skill that indicates higher intelligence.

There is a particular musical skill that indicates higher intelligence.

People who have higher IQs can keep a beat more precisely, a study has found.

Those in the study with higher IQs found it easier to keep a regular beat on a drum pad.

The reason may be that good timing is vital to solving problems and the efficiency of the brain.

Brain scans revealed that people with higher intelligence had more white matter in parts of the brain important for problem-solving, planning and managing time.

These factors were also linked to an improved ability to keep time.

So, better timing is built in to the brains of more intelligent people at a fundamental level.

Professor Fredrik Ullén, a pianist and neuroscientist who led the study, said:

“It’s interesting as the task didn’t involve any kind of problem solving.

Irregularity of timing probably arises at a more fundamental biological level owing to a kind of noise in brain activity.”

The study included 34 people who tried to copy the clicking of a metronome by hitting a drum pad.

They were given 20 beats to warm up, then they had to keep the same rhythm going for a further 45 beats.

The results showed that the more intelligent people were, the better they could keep time when the metronome stopped.

Professor Ullén said:

“All in all, this suggests that a factor of what we call intelligence has a biological basis in the number of nerve fibres in the prefrontal lobe and the stability of neuronal activity that this provides.”

Faster brains make quicker perceptual judgements as well as being better at solving puzzles or analysing decisions.

For example, people with higher IQs find it easier to tell which way an object is moving.

The study was published in the Journal of Neuroscience (Ullén et al., 2008).

These Positive Feelings Are Signs You Have A High IQ

People with higher IQ have this cheerful quality.

People with higher IQ have this cheerful quality.

Feeling happy and satisfied is linked to having a higher IQ, research finds.

In fact, experiencing positive emotions, feeling lively and wide awake all predict higher intelligence.

The conclusions come from two studies of 440 people who completed tests of personality and well-being/happiness.

When given a task to do, people with higher intelligence were less stressed both before and afterwards, as well as being more engaged, researchers found.

People who were happier and more lively were also more likely to agree with statements like:

  • Am quick to understand things.
  • Have a rich vocabulary, and intellectual engagement.
  • Like to solve complex problems.

Positive answers to these questions matched up with an actual fluid intelligence test they were given.

In other words, smart people were right about being smart, they didn’t just ‘feel’ smart.

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.

The study’s authors conclude:

“The results indicated that Intellect was generally associated with lower stress (low distress and worry and high task engagement) before and after intelligence tests.”

Even without being given a test to do, people with higher IQs felt happier and more energetic.

The reason that IQ and happiness are linked could be down to how much importance is placed on being smart in Western cultures.

The authors write:

“It is striking that Intellect was correlated with affect even in Study 1, in which there was no requirement to perform an intellectual task.

At least in Western cultures, intellect may be of sufficient importance to the self-schema that it influences general emotional functioning.”

The study was published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences (Zajenkowskia & Matthews, 2019).

How To Look More Intelligent Using Only Your Eyes

Research demonstrates how to use your eyes and voice to project a higher IQ.

Research demonstrates how to use your eyes and voice to project a higher IQ.

Maintaining eye contact while talking is one of the easiest ways to appear smarter, research finds.

Other common ways to appear smarter include speaking pleasantly, clearly and quickly.

The handy tip comes from a study in which people were recorded while trying to act smart discussing an assigned topic.

This condition was compared to people who were given no instruction about how to act.

Judges viewed the video and rated the person’s apparent intelligence.

Maintaining eye contact while speaking was rated as giving the smartest appearance.

Indeed, intelligence tests revealed that people who maintained eye contact were actually smarter.

Two other signs of high IQ were:

  • maintaining eye contact while listening,
  • and standing upright.

However, neither of these was linked to people’s measured intelligence.

Still, you could use them, as it creates the right impression.

Other ways to look more intelligent were:

  • Speaking for longer.
  • Having a self-assured expression.
  • Being responsive.

People did not use these methods spontaneously, though.

The study’s authors conclude:

“Looking while speaking was a key behavior: It significantly correlated with IQ, was successfully manipulated by impression-managing targets, and contributed to higher perceived intelligence ratings.”

Along with more eye contact, other ways of appearing more intelligent are listed by the study’s authors:

“…pleasant speech style, clear or easy-to-understand communication, and faster speech rate all have been associated with higher perceived intelligence ratings.”

The study was published in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin (Murphy, 2007).

This Personality Trait Is Strongly Related To Superior IQ

Higher intelligence drives ‘cognitive hunger’.

Higher intelligence drives ‘cognitive hunger’.

Openness to experience is the personality trait most strongly linked to higher intelligence, research finds.

People who are open to experience tend to be intellectually curious, imaginative, seekers of variety and sensitive to their feelings.

Naturally, people who are open to experience like trying out new activities and ideas.

Openness to experience is one of the five major aspects of personality, along with conscientiousness, neuroticism, agreeableness and extraversion.

The study’s author, Dr Scott Barry Kaufman, explains:

“Openness to experience is the broadest personality domain of the Big Five, including a mix of traits relating to intellectual curiosity, intellectual interests, perceived intelligence, imagination, creativity, artistic and aesthetic interests, emotional and fantasy richness, and unconventionality.”

The conclusions come from a survey of 146 people who were asked questions about their personality and intelligence.

The results showed the strongest links between openness to experience and higher IQ.

Being open to experience is so powerful that it is linked to intelligence when measured almost 40 years later.

In particular, two aspects of openness to experience were most strongly related to intelligence.

Firstly, intellectual engagement, which comprises:

  • finding abstract thinking pleasurable,
  • enjoying coming up with new solutions to problems,
  • and liking reading.

Secondly, aesthetic engagement, which can involve activities like:

  • going to the cinema,
  • drawing or painting,
  • dancing,
  • and playing a musical instrument.

More intelligent people are particularly appreciative of beauty: they have a strong aesthetic sense.


Along with these factors, insatiable curiosity is also strongly linked to higher intelligence.

The link is probably down to higher intelligence driving ‘cognitive hunger’.

Cognitive hunger makes people seek out new experiences to satiate this hunger.

The study was published in The Journal of Creative Behavior (Kaufman, 2013).