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).

The Incredible Ways Time Will Probably Change Your Personality

Many of us will change much more than we imagine over the coming decades.

Many of us will change much more than we imagine over the coming decades.

As they get older, many people become more emotionally stable, more agreeable and more conscientious, research finds.

Emotional stability is linked to fewer mental health problems, agreeableness is linked to being considerate and kind while conscientious people are more reliable.

The stereotype of the grumpy senior is totally misplaced, where personality is concerned.

The conclusions come from a study of how personality changes over 50 years.

The results showed that while personality is reasonably stable over a lifetime, it can also change.

Dr Rodica Damian, the study’s first author, said:

“The rankings (of personality traits) remain fairly consistent. People who are more conscientious than others their age at 16 are likely to be more conscientious than others at 66.

But, on average, everyone becomes more conscientious, more emotionally stable, and more agreeable.”

The study included data from 1,795 people who were followed for 50 years from the age of 16 to 66.

Somewhere approaching half of the participants saw changes in their personality over the five decades.

Some people changed more than others, while a few saw negative shifts in their personality.

The researchers conclude:

“Our findings suggest that personality has a stable component across the lifespan, both at the trait level and at the profile level, and that personality is also malleable and people mature as they age.”

Not all psychologists are convinced, though, that personality is even as stable as that.

One study of personality and aging tracked people over 63 years to see if their personality had changed.

The surprise result — well, it’s a surprise to me at any rate — is that there was no relationship whatsoever between people’s personality at age 14 and at age 77.

It was as if the second set of tests — administered 63 years later — had been given to a totally different person.

Perhaps, then, many of us will change much more than we imagine over the coming decades.

→ Read on: How to change your personality

The study was published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (Damian et al., 2018).

An Aspect Of This Major Personality Trait Is Linked To Success In Life

People with this personality trait tend to be self-disciplined and they aim for achievement.

People with this personality trait tend to be self-disciplined and they aim for achievement.

Making concrete plans is the key to achieving your goals, research finds.

Indeed, the habit of making concrete plans is a type of personality trait the researchers dub ‘planfulness’.

Planfulness is an aspect of the wider personality trait of conscientiousness.

In general, conscientious people tend to be self-disciplined and they aim for achievement.

People who are planful tend to agree with statements such as:

  • “Developing a clear plan when I have a goal is important to me.”

Ms Rita M. Ludwig, the study’s first author, said:

“There indeed appears to be a certain way of thinking about goals that correlates with long-term progress.

What’s new in this study is that we used an objective measure of goal progress that could be recorded as participants naturally went about their lives: their check-ins at a local gym.”

For the study, the gym attendance of 282 people was tracked over a 20-week period.

Participants also completed personality tests and other critical measures.

The results showed that people high in the planfulness tended to visit the gym more.

The more planful people were, the more they visited the gym.

Ms Ludwig said:

“This work is broadly informative for those who are curious about how people pursue health goals, including their own patterns of thought around goals.

Clinicians might find it helpful in understanding how their patients tend to think about goals and whether person-to-person differences in such thinking are related to outcomes.”

Plans didn’t necessarily need to be written down — in fact, there was no relationship between how detailed people’s plans were and how often they went to the gym.

Ms Ludwig said:

“It seems logical that people who are successful with their goals would be able to write in detail about their planning process.

We were surprised, then, to find no relationship between people’s goal pursuit behavior and how they wrote about their goals.”

The study was published in the journal Psychological Science (Ludwig et al., 2019).

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).

These 2 Personality Types Are The Most Compatible

People prefer a certain personality type in a romantic partner, study demonstrates.

People prefer a certain personality type in a romantic partner, study demonstrates.

People with similar personalities are the most compatible, research finds.

Extraverts get on with other extraverts, conscientious people are happy with other conscientious people, the agreeable love other agreeable people — and so on.

There was no evidence in this study that opposites attract.

Romantic partners also get on better — at least initially — when they have similar attitudes.

For a happy marriage, though, it is a similar personality that works best.

Similar attitudes, which are easier to gauge than personality, may help people with similar personalities find each other.

The study’s authors write:

“People may be attracted to those who have similar attitudes, values, and beliefs and even marry them – at least in part – on the basis of this similarity because attitudes are highly visible and salient characteristics and they are fundamental to the way people lead their lives.”

The conclusions come from a study of 291 newlyweds who were asked about their personality, attitudes and marital satisfaction.

The results showed that the couples who had similar personalities were happier together.

Attitudes — whether similar or not — made no different to marital satisfaction.

The authors write:

“…once people are in a committed relationship, it is primarily personality similarity that influences marital happiness because being in a committed relationship entails regular interaction and requires extensive coordination in dealing with tasks, issues and problems of daily living.

Whereas personality similarity is likely to facilitate this process, personality differences may result in more friction and conflict in daily life.

As far as attitudes are concerned, people who chose to marry each other should be well aware of how similar or different they are on these domains because attitudes are very visible and salient.

This suggests that attitudinal and value differences, when they exist, are part of a conscious decision to stay together on the basis of other important considerations.”

The study was published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (Luo & Klohnen, 2005).

The Personality Traits Linked To Long Life

People who live to almost 100 have these personality traits.

People who live to almost 100 have these personality traits.

Being optimistic, outgoing and enjoying laughter are linked to longevity, research finds.

People who live to almost 100-years old are more likely to be emotionally expressive and positive.

Long-lived people tend to have stable emotions and to have high levels of conscientiousness.

People with stable emotions are non-neurotic and are at a lower risk of developing anxiety and depression.

People who are emotionally stable usually find it easier to control their urges and are mostly unselfconscious.

People who are conscientious are more careful, efficient and self-disciplined — and they aim for achievement.

Professor Nir Barzilai, study co-author, said:

“When I started working with centenarians, I thought we’d find that they survived so long in part because they were mean and ornery.

But when we assessed the personalities of these 243 centenarians, we found qualities that clearly reflect a positive attitude towards life.

Most were outgoing, optimistic and easygoing.

They considered laughter an important part of life and had a large social network.

They expressed emotions openly rather than bottling them up.”

The study included 243 people aged over 95-years-old who were given personality tests.

The results showed that centenarians had high scores on two scales:

  • Positive Attitude Towards Life: includes being outgoing and optimistic
  • Emotional Expression: not bottling up emotions but letting them out.

Professor Barzilai said:

“Some evidence indicates that personality can change between the ages of 70 and 100, so we don’t know whether our centenarians have maintained their personality traits across their entire lifespans.

Nevertheless, our findings suggest that centenarians share particular personality traits and that genetically-based aspects of personality may play an important role in achieving both good health and exceptional longevity.”

The study was published in the journal Aging (Kato et al., 2012).

The Personality Trait Linked To Heart Disease

The study looked at three different types of hostility: emotional, behavioural and cognitive.

The study looked at three different types of hostility: emotional, behavioural and cognitive.

Being hostile and cynical increases the risk of heart problems, research finds.

Cynical people tend to be distrustful of the nature and motives of others and believe they are motivated only by self-interest.

Cynicism is also linked to pessimism and being contemptuous.

While hostility has long been linked to heart problems, this is one of the first studies to link it to being cynical.

The study, which included 196 people, looked at three different types of hostility: emotional, behavioural and cognitive.

Ms Alexandra T. Tyra, the study’s first author, explained:

“Cynical hostility is more cognitive, consisting of negative beliefs, thoughts and attitudes about other people’s motives, intentions and trustworthiness.

It can be considered suspiciousness, lack of trust or cynical beliefs about others.

These findings reveal that a greater tendency to engage in cynical hostility—which appears to be extremely relevant in today’s political and health climate—can be harmful not only for our short-term stress responses but also our long-term health.”

Meanwhile, behavioural hostility manifests as verbal or physical aggression and emotional hostility as chronic anger.

Under healthy circumstances, people get used to stressors and adapt to them.

Ms Tyra explained:

“Essentially, when you’re exposed to the same thing multiple times, the novelty of that situation wears off, and you don’t have as big of a response as you did the first time.

This is a healthy response. But our study demonstrates that a higher tendency for cynical hostility may prevent or inhibit this decrease in response over time.

In other words, the cardiovascular system responds similarly to a second stressor as it did to the first.

This is unhealthy because it places increased strain on our cardiovascular system over time.”

The people in the study were given personality tests along with a test of their stress response.

The results showed that neither emotional nor behavioural hostility were linked to a higher stress response.

Ms Tyra said:

“This does not imply that emotional and behavioral hostility are not bad for you, just that they may affect your health or well-being in other ways.”

However, people with greater cynical hostility had a high and sustained stress response.

Ms Tyra said:

“I would hope that this research raises awareness about the potential health implications of cynicism.

Perhaps the next time someone thinks a negative thought about the motives, intentions or trustworthiness of their best friend, a co-worker or even a politician, they will think twice about actively engaging with that thought.”

The study was published in the journal Psychophysiology (Tyra et al., 2020).

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).

What Loving Sweet Foods Says About Your Personality

Love cake? It tells people something about your personality.

Love cake? It tells people something about your personality.

People who like sweet foods literally have a sweeter personality, a psychology study finds.

Helpful people who volunteer to do good deeds prefer sweet foods, plus they are higher on the personality trait of agreeableness, the researchers found.

Professor Michael D. Robinson, study co-author, said:

“Our results suggest there is a real link between sweet tastes and pro-social behavior.

Such findings reveal that metaphors can lead to unique and provocative predictions about people’s behaviors and personality traits.”

For the research, participants tasted sweet or non-sweet foods and were asked about their views on food and personality.

Dr. Brian Meier, the study’s first author, said:

“Taste is something we experience every day.

Our research examined whether metaphors that link taste preferences with pro-social experiences (e.g., “she’s a sweetheart”) can be used to shed light on actual personality traits and behavior.”

The results revealed that people intuitively believe that those who like sweet food also have sweet personalities.

Dr Meier said:

“It is striking that helpful and friendly people are considered ‘sweet’ because taste would seem to have little in common with personality or behavior.

Yet, recent psychological theories of embodied metaphor led us to hypothesize that seemingly innocuous metaphors can be used to derive novel insights about personality and behavior.

Importantly, our taste studies controlled for positive mood so the effects we found are not due to the happy or rewarding feeling one may have after eating a sweet food.”

The results may not be the same in different cultures, Dr Meier said:

“Although we suggest our results are likely to be found in other cultures, that may not always be the case across all cultures.”

The study was published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (Meier et al., 2011).

The Personality Trait Linked To Good Mental Health

Personality, though, changes how people interpret and deal with the things that happen to them.

Personality, though, changes how people interpret and deal with the things that happen to them.

People who are extraverted are less likely to suffer mental health problems, personality research finds.

Extraverts are typically outgoing, talkative and energetic and they tend to have more positive emotions.

However, people who are aggressive and neurotic — a tendency to worry and be emotionally unstable — are at higher risk of mental health problems.

Neuroticism is characterised by negative thinking in a range of areas.

Neurotic people are more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety, as well as drink and drug problems.

Neuroticism, like other aspects of personality, is highly heritable — in other words, it is in a person’s genes.

However, neuroticism can be reduced by psychotherapy.

Neurotic people can learn to think differently, use their neuroticism creatively and perhaps reduce their neuroticism by falling in love.

The conclusions come from almost 600 participants in Switzerland.

They were regularly interviewed from the age of around 19 in 1979, until they were in their fifties in 2008.

The researchers asked them about their families, mental health, personality, any problems with drugs and major life events like relationship break-ups, job losses and so on.

People who are aggressive, neurotic and introverted are particularly at risk, the study’s authors write:

“…persons scoring high on aggressiveness and neuroticism and low on extraversion had an approximately 6 times increased risk for internalising disorder [like depression and anxiety] compared to persons scoring low on aggressiveness and neuroticism and high on extraversion.”

Of course, personality is only one factor that affects whether a person might experience a mental health problem.

Some people’s lives are much more difficult than others.

The researchers found that people who experienced job losses and relationship break-ups were more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety.

Personality, though, changes how people interpret and deal with the things that happen to them.

The study’s authors conclude:

“Our findings stress the fundamental role of personality, mainly neuroticism, for the occurrence, persistence and severity of psychopathology.”

The study was published in the journal European Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience (Hengartner et al., 2017).