You can throw a stone in any direction and hit someone who is over-confident and thinks they’re smarter than they really are. But even more common are people who don’t realize they’re actually smarter than they think.
Is that you? Here are eight science-backed signs that you’re not giving yourself enough IQ credit.
1. You’re creative.
Dr. Katie Davis, a clinical neuropsychologist, says creativity is a definitive sign of intelligence because it requires thinking flexibly/outside the box and necessitates the ability to shift and change your patterns of thinking from one way to another.
I’ve worked with many ad agency creatives–they’re some of the smartest people I’ve ever met. Their ability to take an insight and translate it into a message that illuminated my brand’s benefits in a compelling, memorable way is a task few merely “book smart” people could do. I often walked away after a brilliant ad campaign presentation thinking, “Their brain just works differently.” Creativity is its own brand of smart.
2. You’re messy.
Kathleen Vohs from the University of Minnesota says the messier you are, the smarter you are. A study Vohs published in Psychological Science
featured two groups asked to devise creative uses for Ping-Pong balls. One group worked in a messy, cluttered environment while the other worked in a tidy setting. The messy group brainstormed substantially more creative and interesting ideas.
So before berating yourself for your perpetually cluttered desk, give yourself a few IQ points instead.
3. You’re curious.
If you love to learn, the more you’ll learn and the smarter you’ll get. Science backs this up. A study
from Goldsmiths University of London found that “how people invest their time and effort in their intellect” (i.e. feeding their curiosity) plays a huge role in cognitive growth.
But it’s not just learning more that makes you smarter, it’s wanting
to learn more, which is a trait common in intelligent people. A study
in the Journal of Individual Differences
showed a correlation between people who scored high on IQ tests as a child and adults that were more curious and open to new ideas.
from Georgia Tech also showed that those with high curiosity are more tolerant of ambiguity, which requires a sophisticated thinking style.
4. You talk to yourself.
No, it’s not a sign you’re crazy–just the opposite. A study
from psychologists Paloma Mari-Beffa and Alexander Kirkham of Bangor University showed that talking out loud to yourself improves self-control, an important form of intelligence. They gave study participants a set of tasks and accompanying written instructions, asking them to read the instructions silently or out loud. Measured concentration and performance from those who read out loud was far better.
Talking out loud nets control, which is why so many professional athletes talk to themselves out loud during games. Which brings us to the next sign.