“I think of myself as an intelligent, sensitive human being with the soul of a clown which always forces me to blow it at the most important moments,” said Jim Morrison.
Sometimes, intelligence can hide behind humor, youth, rebelliousness, and other things that may obscure our view.
All too often, we close our minds and fail to recognize true brilliance when we see it.
Here are eight signs of intelligence that often get overlooked:
1. You wouldn’t describe yourself as a genius.
This is a well-documented phenomenon called the Dunning-Kruger effect. This effect causes people who are less intelligent to overestimate and over-sell their abilities. Conversely, people who are highly intelligent tend to underestimate their intellect and under-sell themselves in a public forum. Keep in mind – the loudest answer is not always the right one.
2. You were a teenage virgin.
Researchers from UNC-Chapel Hill found that teens who engaged in sexual activity were less intelligent than their virginal counterparts. Surprisingly, it was not only sexual intercourse that affected their scores. Even more innocent behaviors – such as kissing or holding hands – were found to be inversely correlated with intelligence.
3. You are a cat person.
As a dedicated and enthusiastic dog person, I was skeptical of these findings at first. Unfortunately, science is just not on my side here. A 2014 study by Carroll University in Wisconsin proved conclusively that cat owners tend to be more intelligent than dog owners. They were also shown to be more sensitive, non-conformist, introverted, and open-minded.
4. You worry too much.
According to a recent study, worriers are more intelligent than their blissful counterparts. This was primarily seen in the context of verbal intelligence. It is possible that highly intelligent people – and especially more verbally active ones – are more inclined to identify future threats and ruminate over detailed memories of the past.
5. You can’t stick to a bedtime.
According to a 2009 study, those of us who have trouble falling asleep at night can likely blame our active brains for our troubles. This research found that people who are naturally inclined to stay up late at night and sleep late in the morning are more intelligent, more alert, and more financially successful. The early bird may get the worm – but who wants worms, anyway?
6. You were the class clown.
We usually think of the class clown as the opposite of the intellectual. However, this may be far from the truth. Intelligence and a good sense of humor have been shown to be strongly correlated, and for good reason. Humor requires a high level of verbal skills, critical thinking, and creativity. Pulling a joke off successfully also reveals a strong ability to relate with others.
7. You have a filthy mouth.
Swearing has long been associated with a low intellect and low socio-economic status. Thankfully, researchers from Marist College and Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts have blown that stereotype away. According to their study, people who swear have bigger vocabularies and more highly developed verbal skills than those who hold back. Fuck, yeah!
8. Your house is filthy, too.
We tend to associate intelligence with neatness. However, if anything, a tidy environment actually inhibits our brains from doing their best work. Researchers at the University of Groningen were able to determine that a messy working environment actually facilitates clearer thinking, especially in the areas of creativity and problem-solving.
Learn to seek intelligent answers from unexpected sources.
You might be surprised. As Isaac Asimov said, “Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won’t come in.”