6 Characteristics Of Highly Intelligent People According to Science

Intelligence is defined as the capacity to learn, understand, and make reasonable judgments or hold reasonable opinions.

There are different types of intelligence such as emotional, interpersonal, logical and even musical. According to scientifical research, the same person could have a different level of intelligence depending on the sphere. Or in other words, someone might be an absolute genius in maths yet totally unable to interact with people for instance.

Here comes the question of how intelligence is developed and what factors make someone intelligent in one sphere and not that intelligent in another.

According to the opinion of Dr. Perpetua Neo psychologist and executive coach:

“Certain traits connected to intelligence get selected for by evolution, because this enables a species to survive during times of transitions/disasters, create more prosperous [civilizations,] or conquer new habitats.” she says to Bustle.

But is it all a matter of genes and evolution? Do family, education, social environment, and parent behavior also play role in developing a child’s intelligence?

The truth is that scientists still have not come up with a full list of all the factors that influence someone’s intelligence.

But what we know for sure, is that there are many characteristics the people who score high in IQ tests and are highly intelligent have in common.

Here are 6 of them we’ve outlined based on scientifical research:


According to research from 2016, published in the Journal of Individual Differences, there exists a connection between the level of intelligence throughout childhood and the desire for gaining experience in adulthood.

For 50 years, the researchers who conducted the study observed people born in the UK. They concluded that the children at the age of eleven with higher IQ results were more interested in gaining new experience at the age of 50 than the others.


“Imagination is more important than knowledge.” Einstein

Highly intelligent people are also remarkably creative. For example, Einstein’s creative imagination made it possible to develop the Theory of Relativity. It all started by him thinking what it would be like to ride a light beam. So it turns out that creativity is also a form of intelligence .

“Being open and creative means that we can easily piece together new insights that are qualitatively different from the sum of their parts,”
Dr. Perpetua Neo tells Bustle.

3.Taking risks

Taking risks may be a sign of higher intelligence it turns out. According to Finnish reserach, from 2015 people who have the courage to take risks are smarter.

The participants in the study had to pass a driving simulation test. They had to drive past yellow traffic lights or wait for the lights to become red. The scientists who conducted the study came to the conclusion that those who took risky decisions during the experiment had more white brain matter – the part of the brain related to cognitive capacity.

4.They are not afraid to admit they don’t know something

I know that I am intelligent, because I know that I know nothing. Socrates

Intelligent people aren’t afraid to say that they are not familiar with something. According to information provided by Business Insider, a study conducted by Justin Kruger and David Dunning proved that people who are not that intelligent, tend to overestimate their abilities.

For instance, students who had the lowest results in an exam adapted from the LSAT overestimated the number of questions they had answered correctly by almost 50%. At the same time, the ones who had top scores underestimated the number of correct answers they’d given.

5.Being the first-born

The fact that someone is the eldest sibling might be the reason for this person’s high level of intelligence. That could be associated with the parents’ behavior as they are usually stricter with their firstborn children.

According to an article published in The Independent some economists from the University of Edinburgh also support the theory that first-borns are smarter because of their parents’ behavior.

The economists, along with a team from Sydney University, analyzed information related to 5,000 children. They tested their reading and picture vocabulary skills once every two years. The results showed that first-borns received more support from their parents with the tasks, and consequently scored better results on the tests.

6.Spending time on their own

An article in Washington Post discusses a study from 2016. It was conducted by psychologists from the London School of Economics and Singapore Management University. According to the results more intelligent people actually felt better if they socialized less often.

The scientists who conducted the study used the so-called “savanna theory of happiness“. The researchers analyzed information provided by a national research in the United States which included 15,000 participants.

First, they found that people who live in more densely populated places felt less satisfied with their life.

“The higher the population density of the immediate environment, the less happy,” explained the participants in the study.

Second, they found that the more contacts with close friends a person had, the greater their happiness was.

But that wasn’t the case with intelligent people.

“The effect of population density on life satisfaction was therefore more than twice as large for low-IQ individuals than for high-IQ individuals,” the scientists concluded. And “more intelligent individuals were actually less satisfied with life if they socialized with their friends more frequently.”

So it turns out that smart people’s happiness decreases when they spend more time with their friends.

What is your IQ score?

Please, tell us in the comments below.

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