3 Personality Traits That Indicate High IQ

Many people do not predict that these traits are linked to being smart.

Many people do not predict that these traits are linked to being smart.

Highly intelligent people are more likely to be trusting, straightforward and altruistic, research finds.

However, many people find this surprising as they do not predict that being agreeable is linked to being smart.

It may be because people guess that being ‘too nice’ is not necessarily linked with being successful in life.

The traits that people do correctly guess are linked to intelligence are:

  • Openness to experience: being more open to experience is linked to higher IQ.
  • Extraversion: being outgoing is linked to a higher IQ.
  • Neuroticism: being neurotic is linked to lower IQ.

This shows that many of people’s beliefs about the links between personality and intelligence are correct.

People do, however, exaggerate the link — personality does not tell you as much about intelligence as people assume.

The study’s authors write that there is…

“…a general belief that intelligent people can be distinguished from less intelligent not only by their mental capacities but also by their personality dispositions.

For example, when people have been asked to name famous examples of an intelligent person, Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi, and Mother Theresa have regularly been suggested, indicating that spiritual strength is considered an indicator of intelligence.

When lay judges are asked what they mean by the term intelligence or mental abilities, besides cognitive aptitude, they usually propose competencies related to social and interpersonal skills.”

In other words, people assume that social and interpersonal skills indicate a high IQ, but this is not necessarily true.


The results come from a study of hundreds of people in Estonia who were surveyed about the perceived links between personality and intelligence.

The most fascinating finding was that people missed the fact that intelligent people tend to be more agreeable.

The study’s authors write:

“By attributing neutral agreeableness to high-IQ individuals, respondents may express the idea that it is not always advantageous to be kind to other people.

In fact, being unselfish and sincere may sometimes work against doing well in life.

Empirical data, too, suggests that being agreeable is not always adaptive or conducive to, for example, occupational career success.”

The study was published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences (Mõttus et al., 2008).

An Early Sign Of Lower IQ

The brain is very sensitive in early childhood.

The brain is very sensitive in early childhood.

Exposure to maltreatment or trauma early in life is linked to lower IQ, research finds.

Being abused, physically or emotionally, neglected or witnessing domestic violence, was linked to an IQ score 7 points lower, on average.

Abuse that occurs before the age of two-years-old is particularly damaging to intellectual development.

The brain is very sensitive in this early period, neuroscience has revealed.

Trauma and adversity early in life has repeatedly been linked to changes in the structure and circuitry of the brain.

The conclusions come from a study of 206 US children enrolled in the Minnesota Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children.

The study started in 1975 and tracked the children from birth.

Children and mothers were assessed and interviewed at regular intervals and the children were given IQ tests.

The study revealed that one in three children had been maltreated and/or seen their mothers subject to violence.

This happened in infancy to 5 percent of children, in the pre-school period to 13 percent and in both periods to 19 percent.

Maltreatment — including witnessing violence and being neglected — was linked to lower intelligence scores every time it was measured.

The study’s authors write:

“The results suggest that [maltreatment and witnessing domestic violence] in early childhood, particularly during the first two years, has significant and enduring effects on cognitive development, even after adjusting for [other risk factors].

Because early brain organisation frames later neurological development, changes in early development may have lifelong consequences.”

The study was published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health (Enlow et al., 2012).

This Is A Sign You Have A High Crystallised IQ

Crystallised intelligence is demonstrated by better language and reasoning skills.

Crystallised intelligence is demonstrated by better language and reasoning skills.

Sitting down is not all bad: people who spend more time sitting score higher on tests of crystallised intelligence, research shows.

Crystallised intelligence is demonstrated by better language and reasoning skills.

It refers to the type of intelligence that comes from knowledge and experience that tends to come with age.

However, people who do more exercise boost their 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.

The conclusions come from a study that looked at how different levels of physical activity are linked to cognitive health.

Dr Agnieszka Burzynska, the study’s first author, said:

“We know that as we grow older, even if we do not have any cognitive impairments, people aged 60 and up already show some decreases in speed, executive functioning, and memory.

Those decreases are totally within a normal range, but this study was looking to understand how our behaviors and habits may correlate with cognitive outcomes in older age.”

For the study, 228 older people’s daily activity was measured.

People are often sat down each day for longer than they think said Dr Burzynska:

“If you ask, ‘How long did you sit today?’ people will perhaps say 2 to 3 hours when the reality is more like 6 to 8 hours.”

Cognitive tests revealed that people who sat more tended to do better on knowledge and reading tests.

Those that exercised more, though, did better on memory and problem-solving tests that require a ‘faster’ brain.

Light physical activities like housework cooking and laundry had little effect on people’s cognition — it was moderate-to-vigorous activities that worked.

Dr Burzynska said:

“There’s this big push within health and wellness that sitting is always bad for your body, that being a couch potato is not good, and although our earlier studies indicated that the brains of those who spend more time sitting may age faster, it seems that on the cognitive level, sitting time may also be meaningful.”

Sitting time may be beneficial as long as it is used to stimulate the brain: such as by reading, playing games or doing something educational or mentally invigorating.

Dr Burzynska said:

“I don’t think I would in any way suggest that we should engage in more sitting, but I think trying to be as physically active as possible and making sure that you get stimulated in your sedentary time — that it’s not just spent staring at the TV — that this combination might be the best way to take care of your brain.

I hope it sends some positive message for those of us who have had limited opportunities to exercise during the pandemic.”

Dr Burzynska added:

“When you exercise, enjoy your exercise. Maybe sometimes think, ‘Yeah I’m going to go sit now and enjoy a really good book’.”

The study was published in the journal Psychology and Aging (Burzynska et al., 2020).

The Foods That Increase Your IQ

The foods can even restore memory in older people.

The foods can even restore memory in older people.

Flavanols, which naturally occur in fruit and vegetables, can make you smarter, new research finds.

People who consumed a cocoa drink laced with flavanols performed 11 percent faster on complex cognitive tests than those given a placebo.

Flavanols work by increasing blood oxygenation.

Flavanols are present in grapes, cocoa, apples, berries, tea and many other foods.

Dark chocolate is a particularly rich source of cocoa flavanols.

Dr Catarina Rendeiro, study co-author, said:

“Flavanols are small molecules found in many fruits and vegetables, and cocoa, too.

They give fruits and vegetables their bright colors, and they are known to benefit vascular function.

We wanted to know whether flavanols also benefit the brain vasculature, and whether that could have a positive impact on cognitive function.”

The small study included 18 people given either a flavanol-rich drink or a placebo.

Two hours later, brain scans showed that those who had consumed flavanols had blood oxygenation three times higher in response to hypercapnia.

Hypercapnia means the elevation of carbon dioxide in the bloodstream.

Dr Rendeiro explained the results:

“Our results showed a clear benefit for the participants taking the flavanol-enriched drink – but only when the task became sufficiently complicated.

We can link this with our results on improved blood oxygenation – if you’re being challenged more, your brain needs improved blood oxygen levels to manage that challenge.

It also further suggests that flavanols might be particularly beneficial during cognitively demanding tasks.”

Long-term flavanol consumption

Taking cocoa flavanols over the long term has also been linked to a variety of mental benefits.

In elderly people, they have been shown to improve cognitive performance, attention, processing speed and verbal fluency.

These effects are particularly strong among elderly people starting to see age-related mental decline.

One study, published in Nature Neuroscience, found a high-flavanol diet could restore aspects of older people’s memory back to that of a typical 30- or 40-year-old.

The study was published in the journal Scientific Reports (Gratton et al., 2020).

This Social Sign Indicates A High IQ

People with high intelligence tend to share this quality.

People with high intelligence tend to share this quality.

Intelligent people tend to be better behaved and less aggressive, research reveals.

Both boys and girls with higher IQs are less likely to be antisocial than those with lower IQs.

Boys who are not antisocial generally have IQs around 10 points higher.

Non-antisocial girls have IQs around 5 points higher than their antisocial peers.

High IQ is also linked to lower levels of aggression and drug abuse.

The results come from a group of over 1,000 children in England and Wales.

They were given tests of their IQ and externalising behaviour (aggression, antisocial behaviour etc.).

The study revealed that more intelligent children were less likely to exhibit antisocial behaviour.

The study’s authors write:

“Low IQ is a consistent risk factor for emergence and continuity of antisocial behavior across the life course in both prospective and cross-sectional studies, even when other relevant risk factors are statistically controlled.”

Genetic factors are likely important in the link, as well as situational factors, the authors write:

“…cognitive deficits might promote antisocial behavior if children with low IQs misunderstand rules, find it too difficult to negotiate conflict with words, find school frustrating, or become tracked with antisocial peers.”

The study was published in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology (Koenen et al., 2008).

2 Attractive Signs Of High IQ

The link helps explain ‘the halo effect‘, the idea that the mind assumes that what is beautiful is good.

The link helps explain ‘the halo effect‘, the idea that the mind assumes that what is beautiful is good.

Attractive people are also likely to be more intelligent, studies find.

People who are physically attractive can have IQs up to 14 percent higher than the less attractive.

The results come from data on 17,419 children in the UK who have been followed since 1958.

Attractive male children have 13.6 more IQ points than their unattractive peers.

Meanwhile, female children have 11.4 more IQ points.

This is the difference between being of average and high intelligence.

People unconsciously assume that better looking people are more intelligent.

It is part of what psychologists call ‘the halo effect‘: the mind assumes that what is beautiful is good.

Hollywood stars demonstrate the halo effect perfectly.

Because they are often attractive and likeable we naturally assume they are also intelligent, friendly, display good judgement and so on.

As the study’s authors write:

“Individuals perceive physically attractive others to be more intelligent than physically unattractive others.

While most researchers dismiss this perception as a ‘bias’ or ‘stereotype’, we contend that individuals have this perception because beautiful people indeed are more intelligent.”

The authors warn that the finding should not be used as the basis for discrimination or prejudice:

“Our contention that beautiful people are more intelligent is purely scientific.

It is not a prescription for how to treat or judge others.”

Tall and intelligent

A second sign of higher intelligence is being taller.

The reason is that the genes that are correlated with height are also correlated with intelligence.

The conclusion comes from a study of the DNA of 6,815 people.

Of course, there are still people who are short and intelligent, plus those who are tall and dim.

But, on average, there is a small association between being taller and having higher intelligence.

The studies were both published in the journal Intelligence (Kanazawa, 2011Kanazawa & Kovar, 2004).

The Surprising Link Between Prejudiced Attitudes And IQ

High intelligence is linked to holding certain attitudes, psychological research finds.

High intelligence is linked to holding certain attitudes, psychological research finds.

More intelligent people are less likely to be prejudiced against same-sex couples, research finds.

People of lower intelligence, though, are more likely to hold homophobic attitudes.

The conclusions come from an Australian study of 11,654 people who were given intelligence tests.

All were asked if they agreed with this statement:

“Homosexual couples should have the same rights as heterosexual couples do.”

Less intelligent people were more likely to be prejudiced on LGBT issues, the results showed.

People with low scores on the verbal ability test were particularly likely to be prejudiced.

Higher levels of education were, however, consistently linked to being less prejudiced.

Dr Francisco Perales, the study’s author, writes:

“Altogether, the findings provide clear evidence that cognitive ability is an important precursor of prejudice against same-sex couples.”

Dr Perales explained that studies have generally found that prejudice is more prevalent among people of low intelligence:

“Research conducted chiefly in the US, Canada and Western Europe reports correlations between low cognitive ability and support of prejudicial or non-egalitarian attitudes towards certain social groups (including ethnic minorities, migrants, women and people with AIDS), as well as related constructs, such as conservatism, ethnocentrism, authoritarianism,
and dogmatism.”

High IQ prejudice

Some psychologists, though, think this is not the whole story about the link between intelligence and prejudice.

A survey of 5,914  people in the US has tested prejudice against 24 different groups.

It found that both people of high and low intelligence are prejudiced — just against different groups.

People of higher intelligence showed prejudice towards groups perceived as conservative and conventional.

These included the military, Christians and big business.

Dr Mark Brandt, the study’s first author, explained:

“Whereas prior work by others found that people with low cognitive ability express more prejudice, we found that this is limited to only some target groups.

For other target groups the relationship was in the opposite direction.

For these groups, people with high levels of cognitive ability expressed more prejudice.

So, cognitive ability also does not seem to make people immune to expressing prejudice.”

The rather depressing conclusion is that most people are prejudiced against those they don’t agree with.

The studies were was published in the journals Intelligence and Social Psychological and Personality Science (Brandt & Crawford, 2016; Perales, 2018).

How Smart Would You Like To Be? Most People Choose This IQ Score

Thousands of people were asked how smart they wanted to be.

Thousands of people were asked how smart they wanted to be.

When asked, people choose an average IQ of around 130, research shows,

This level makes a person smart, mildly gifted even, but certainly not a genius.

In fact, people are surprisingly modest across a wide range of personal traits, when asked their ideal level.

When asked how long they’d like to live, the average is 90 years, which is only a little higher than normal life expectancy.

Even when given the option of taking a magic pill that gives eternal youth, they still only go for 120 years, on average.

Professor Matthew J. Hornsey, who led the research, said:

“Our research shows that people’s sense of perfection is surprisingly modest.

People wanted to have positive qualities, such as health and happiness, but not to the exclusion of other darker experiences — they wanted about 75% of a good thing.”

People who live in more holistic cultures — like Japan and China — were even more modest in the ideal levels they chose.

This reflects the fact that Eastern philosophies often emphasise the coexistence of good and bad.

Professor Hornsey explained:

“Interestingly, the ratings of perfection were more modest in countries that had traditions of Buddhism and Confucianism.

This makes sense — these Eastern philosophies and religions tend to place more emphasis on the notion that seemingly contradictory forces coexist in a complementary, interrelated state, such that one cannot exist without the other.”

The study’s conclusions come from 2,392 people in Australia, Chile, China, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Peru, Russia, and the United States.

The results showed that people were much more interested in being perfectly healthy than perfectly happy.

Professor Hornsey said:

“This principle of maximization is threaded through many prominent philosophical and economic theories.

But our data suggest that people have much more complex, blended notions of perfection, ones that embrace both light and dark.”

The study was published in the journal Psychological Science (Hornsey et al., 2018).

A Brilliant Sign That You Have A High Fluid IQ

People with high fluid intelligence are likely to have this ability.

People with high fluid intelligence are likely to have this ability.

The ability to store more items in short-term memory indicates a higher fluid IQ, psychological research reveals.

While there may be no limit to long-term memory, short-term memory is much smaller.

The average number of things people can store in short-term memory — whether words, numbers or whatever — is four.

Short-term memory only lasts around 15 to 30 seconds.

Being able to store more than this, suggests an above-average IQ.

However, being able to store these items clearly is NOT linked to IQ.

Dr Keisuke Fukuda, the study’s first author, said:

“Clarity, relates to how well a person can detect small changes.”

In other words, high IQ is linked to the quantity of items a person can store in short-term memory, not the quality.

For the study, 79 people had their fluid intelligence tested.

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.

They were then shown between four and eight items on a screen at the same time.

After a second they were shown another object and asked whether it had appeared in a particular location.

People with higher fluid intelligence were better at remembering if they had seen the item before.

However, people with higher fluid intelligence were no better at remembering where the item had been.

Professor Edward Awh, study’s co-author, said:

“The number of things people can remember is robustly correlated with fluid intelligence — the larger number remembered, the higher the IQ.

Resolution in memory is not predictive of IQ at all.”

The study was published in the journal Psychonomic Bulletin & Review (Fukada et al., 2011).

What People With High IQs Do When Faced With Temptation

How long can you wait for your reward?

How long can you wait for your reward?

Having stronger self-control is a sign of higher intelligence, research finds.

Faced with temptation, more intelligent people stay cooler.

In the study, those with higher intelligence waited longer for a larger reward.

For the study, 103 people were given a series of tests that involved choosing between small financial rewards today or larger ones later on.

For example, let’s say I offer you $5 right now, or $10 in a month’s time.

Choosing the larger reward later on makes sense, but immediate returns are tempting.

Psychologists call this ‘delay discounting’: the longer people have to wait for a reward, the more they discount its value.

In other words, “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush”.

The results showed that people with higher intelligence could wait longer for their reward, so demonstrating higher self-control.

Brain scans revealed that people with higher IQ had greater activation in an area called the anterior prefrontal cortex.

This area of the brain allows people to manage complex problems and deal with competing goals.

Dr Noah Shamosh, the study’s first author, said:

“It has been known for some time that intelligence and self-control are related, but we didn’t know why.

Our study implicates the function of a specific brain structure, the anterior prefrontal cortex, which is one of the last brain structures to fully mature.”

The study was published in the journal Psychological Science (Shamosh et al., 2008).