Some of those “bad habits” of yours, like being messy, staying up late, and swearing, are actually indicators of high intelligence.
If you were like me, you grew up with some basic rules to follow and keep with you all the way into adulthood. “Don’t stay up too late.” “Keep your room clean.” Don’t swear so much.” (My parents actually told me not to swear at all, but some situations call for an F-bomb. Have you seen A Christmas Story?)
Well, as it turns out, all those lessons and rules that were instilled in us long ago can be tossed right out the window. Okay, not all of them, maybe just the three aforementioned ones for now.
New studies have good news for those of us who stay up late, have messy rooms, and swear. According to researchers, we exhibit higher levels of intelligence.
Psychology Today reports findings that our species, human, is the only one that can “override their internal biological clock and its rhythmic outputs.” On top of that, we do this whether we are conscious of the decision or not.
Every animal species on earth has a circadian rhythm, including humans. ( A circadian rhythm is a 24 hour cycle in which mental and behavioural changes occur based on light and darkness.) The difference is that we can choose when we go to sleep and when we wake up; we can decide to be night owls or morning people.
Psychology Today elaborates by saying, “More intelligent children grow up to be more nocturnal as adults than less intelligent children.”
“Compared to their less intelligent counterparts, more intelligent individuals go to bed later on weeknights (when they have to get up at a certain time the next day) and on weekends (when they don’t), and they wake up later on weekdays (but not on weekends, for which the positive effect of childhood intelligence on adult nocturnality is not statistically significant).”
So, if you like staying up late, it might be because you have high intelligence.
What about swearing? A recent study published in the journal Science Direct proves that swearing isn’t a sign of someone with a limited vocabulary, and it doesn’t mean “you can’t think of anything better to say.”
The two authors of the study, Kristin Jay and Timothy Jay, gathered participants aged 18-22 and tested their vocabulary. Their first task was to “name as many taboo words as they could within a time limit beginning with a certain letter.” They were asked to do the same thing with animals, and again with “any general word.” Sounds easy, right? It was- for the participants who excelled at listing taboo words. This study found that those who have a vaster comprehension of swear words, also have a “more expansive vocabulary and a better grasp on language.”
Stephen Fry, conceptually a spokesperson for intelligent conversation, says this on swearing and intelligence:
“The sort of twee person who thinks swearing is in any way a sign of a lack of education or a lack of verbal interest is just a fucking lunatic.”
As for the messy ones, you can thank Kathleen Vohs for her recent study which allows you to confidently leave your room in a state of emergency. Vohs, a psychological scientist at the University of Minnesota, discovered that those who prefer to have a messy room and office are more creative and imaginative than their orderly counterparts.
“Being in a messy room led to something that firms, industries, and societies want more of: Creativity,” said Vohs. “Disorderly environments seem to inspire breaking free of tradition, which can produce fresh insights.”
The bottom line, whether you are messy, a night owl, or someone who curses like a sailor, you’re doing things in an unconventional way. And sometimes, going against the grain is a sign of intelligence.
Like Einstein once said, “If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, then what are we to think of an empty desk?” So, with that in mind, leave your clothes on the bed, catch up on the late-night documentary, and swear whenever necessary.
By Raven Fon