If These 12 Things Apply to You, You’re Probably Smarter Than You Think
How many things can you check off this list?
What does it mean to be smart?
Bright, clever, witty, and knowledgeable are just some other ways people define smartness. Some might even throw the word genius into the mix, too. Doctors have their own various definitions, also. According to Judy Ho, PhD, a Triple Board-Certified Clinical, Forensic, and Neuropsychologist, a genius is traditionally someone with extreme intellectual skill with high IQ test scores. Although, she says these tests don’t always offer the full-picture as some genius skills, like creative problem-solving, are harder to measure. Defining smartness, as well as genius, might not be clear cut, but overall, most people agree that smart people have a high level of thinking. You might be one of them if these things apply to you.
You’re the oldest child
Research from the University of Edinburgh actually shows that firstborns might have a “mental edge” over their younger siblings as they tend to have higher IQs. According to the researchers, this is because parents often offer older kids more mental stimulation, they breastfeed, and they take fewer risks like drinking and smoking during the first pregnancy, Forbes reports. So smart older children aren’t necessarily because of genetics. If you have kids, make sure you share these 7 pieces of life advice geniuses tell their kids.
You swear like a sailor
Swearing is common in people with a high IQ, studies show, and specifically those with “high verbal fluency,” Dr. Ho says, also the author of Stop Self Sabotage. That means having a rich index of swear words is a vocabulary strength. And smart people don’t swear to be crude, but to communicate effectively. In fact, this is why geniuses throughout history use different codes, ciphers, and languages as alternative communication strategies, according to Catherine Franssen, PhD, a professor of psychology and director of neurostudies at Longwood University. There is still a difference between intentional, thoughtful uses of swearing and substituting for words you don’t know. People with an extensive vocabulary might have better luck with these 15 National Geography Bee questions only geniuses will get right.
You have anxiety
Research in the journal Intelligence found that geniuses, or people with higher IQs, report more mood and anxiety disorder diagnoses than the national average. Dr. Ho says this could be because geniuses often overthink everything since they try to achieve perfection. This level of high self-reflection, plus a more neurotic personality, link to a higher risk for anxiety and other mental health distress, according to Dr. Ho. Anyone a bit different is also susceptible to suffering from social challenges, Dr. Franssen points out. “That includes those who are different because of something that seems like a positive trait, like a genius,” Dr. Franssen says.
You’re an athlete
Many geniuses are physically active, according to Rahul Jandial MD, PhD, the author of Neurofitness, and a dual-trained brain surgeon and neuroscientist at City of Hope in Los Angeles. “There is clear evidence showing physical activity sharpens the mind and allows for unique connections in concepts and thoughts,” Dr. Jandial says. This boost in brain function is because stress of all kinds supplies neurons with more blood; so they can grow, connect, and enhance the brain, Dr. Franssen adds. Walking might be a low-impact form of exercise, but it’s still one of the 7 daily habits creative geniuses have in common.
You’re a night owl
A study from the London School of Economics and Political Science found that people who tend to go to bed later have higher IQs. The researchers believe this is because of evolution. Nighttime meant danger, so our ancestors who chose to stay up and out late instead of sleep needed to be smart. Dr. Franssen adds that working late or outside the typical nine to five workday allows for more innovation and creative thought as there are fewer interruptions or demands, and different expectations. “A genius might choose to work at odd hours to improve creative thought,” she says. “Or more time spent on creative thought at odd hours might develop genius.”
You adapt easily
Being adaptable means having the intelligence and awareness to see things from fresh perspectives, according to Dr. Jandial. “That means being able to see connections or solutions that others can’t,” he says. New problems and challenges require new, novel solutions, something smart people and geniuses are comfortable with, Dr. Ho adds. Psychologists also say adaptation requires other cognitive processes, too, such as memory, reasoning, perception, and problem-solving. These 8 people with higher IQs than Einstein know all about adapting to change.
You have a dark sense of humor
If you appreciate “sick” jokes, you might be a genius. According to a study published in the journal Cognitive Processing, your reaction to dark humor indicates your intelligence. The psychologists defined dark humor as, “humor that treats sinister subjects like death, disease, deformity, handicap or warfare with bitter amusement and presents such tragic, distressing or morbid topics in humorous terms.” Fans of these jokes might have higher IQs along with less aggression. Researchers claim processing dark humor jokes is more work for your brain. If you prefer telling jokes to hearing them, remember these 25 clever jokes that make you sound smart.
You took music lessons as a kid
Practicing music at a young age helps develop young minds in a few ways. One 2018 study in the journal Frontiers in Neuroscience found that kids who took structured music lessons tested higher on quizzes for verbal intelligence, planning, and inhibition. Another study in the Journal of Psychological Science found music lessons for four and six-year-olds enhanced their verbal intelligence.
Being judgmental isn’t the best trait to have, but it looks like it might come with the territory of being smart. According to a study in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, smart people are prone to stereotyping thanks to their ability to detect patterns.