There are many misconceptions about highly intelligent people – among the most debated being how to identify them.
Albert Einstein himself once said: “It is not that I’m so smart. But I stay with the questions much longer.” Indeed, many people agree that the most accurate measure of intelligence is not in what a person already knows. Rather, it materializes in their ability to think outside the box and come up with ingenious ideas.
Here are three surprising signs that you may be smarter than the average bear:
1. A good sense of humor.
We don’t usually think of the class clown as being the smartest in the room. However, the ability to make people laugh requires a tremendous amount of abstract reasoning and critical thinking skills, as well as a strong capacity for verbal intelligence. A 2008 paper published in the journal Evolutionary Psychology examined humor as a measure of sense of what the authors called “mental fitness”. They concluded that their research “lends support to the prediction that effective humor production acts as an honest indicator of intelligence in humans.”
I, personally, have always had a vivacious sense of humor. Whenever I go to a party or pub, I naturally become the heart and the soul of the whole company. Now, I am much pleased to announce that a number of studies have unequivocally linked humor to intelligence!
For instance, researchers at the University of New Mexico tested hundreds of subjects on abstract reasoning, verbal intelligence, and their ability to write a good joke. The results showed that both general and verbal intelligence correlated strongly with the subject’s ability to produce humor.
They also found that the funnier test subjects were more likely to get laid, suggesting that humans may have developed a sense of humor in order to indicate intelligence in a mating scenario. I’ve always suspected that knocking her out with your big bat and dragging her to your cave does not work. So, now I am glad I’ve never tried that.
In the past, people used to discourage children from writing with their left hand. Some even went as far as punishing them physically, so as to force them to write with their right hand, instead.
We now know that this is not only unnecessary, but also harmful. Researchers have found out that forcing your left-handed child write with his or her right hand can cause learning delays, as well as an emotional trauma.
Fortunately, most of us have abandoned this bad practice and left handedness is widely embraced in the modern world. Moreover, recent research has shown a natural preference for the left side of your body could be a sign that you are intellectually gifted.
Another study conducted by the University of Athens found that, because left handed people were able to more effectively engage the right side of their brain, they performed much better at tests that involved mental flexibility, inhibitory control, and working memory than their right-handed counterparts.
Left-handed people have also been proven to have a greater capacity for inventive thought. In one experiment, researchers found that the more a test subject favored their left hand, the better they were at tests of “divergent thought,” or the ability to form novel ideas quickly and easily.This maybe explains why left-footed strikers in Association Football are more difficult to guard.
Anxiety is the worst. However, research shows that it might be your strong intellect that has burdened you with this often debilitating mindset. There has actually been quite a bit of research in this area, and the results link anxiety to brain activity and intelligence. People with anxiety worry more, because their brains are more active. In a wide range of studies, high IQ scores were found to correlate with high levels of anxiety, suggesting that an intelligent mind is more prone to inward fret.
I am not saying that ignorance is exactly a bliss either. A close friend of mine has bipolar disorder, and yet she easily graduated magna cum laude in English American Studies from Berkeley’s College of Letters & Science. But that wasn’t all – after that she earned not one, but two MAs, one after the other!
George S. Patton once said “If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking.” Indeed, the very things that make your mind different might also make it more powerful and more valuable to society. Don’t hide your mental differences – celebrate them. You likely have the high IQ to back it up.