If someone displays these 10 traits, they’re really intelligent

What traits suggest that someone is intelligent?

It turns out many are not what you might expect. Or at least, they weren’t what I expected. 

Showing one or two of the below traits might not mean that someone is very smart.

But if someone displays all ten of them, they are probably highly intelligent. 

1) They are introverted 

Watch out for the quiet ones!

Several studies have shown that introverts are more likely to be highly intelligent

According to an article by CNBC, a whopping 70% of “gifted” people fall into the introverted category

Indeed many of the people we consider geniuses are said to have been introverted. 

Albert Einstein, Charles Darwin, Isaac Newton…

The list goes on. 

I thought I might have been slightly biased on this point as I am quite introverted, but more studies back it up. 

A 2016 study found that people of higher intelligence felt less satisfied when they spent more time hanging out with friends. 

But that’s not the whole story, of course; being an introvert doesn’t make someone automatically intelligent. 

On average, introverts and extroverts have the same level of intelligence

To be sure you are dealing with someone really intelligent, you’ll have to watch out for the other traits on this list. 

2) They are a cat person

I am a dog person and would like it if it weren’t the case but…

The evidence that those who favor cats are more intelligent is surprisingly compelling!

A study conducted in 2017 found that students who thought they were “cat people” scored higher on abstractness and general intelligence. 

Another study, again conducted on students, came to the same conclusion;  feline fans had higher intelligence

Of course, this preference may have links to their personality. In one study, cat lovers were also shown to be more introverted, which makes sense given the previous point. 

However, this next trait is undeniably common in those with a high level of intelligence.  

3) They are curious

It should come as no surprise that many extremely intelligent people are highly curious

Web MD noted that “insatiable curiosity” is one sign of genius in children

Oxbridge also highlighted this as one characteristic of genius

We might theorize this is so because they need to keep their mind active to stop them from becoming bored. 

Whatever the reason, it seems clear that this is a trait that suggests someone is really intelligent

The next point on this list might not be so obvious, however. 

4) They are a night owl

“The early bird catches the worm.” 

We’ve all heard it a thousand times. 

But is this correct? 

Well, research suggests that night owls actually have the upper hand when it comes to intelligence. 

Web MD identified this as a sign of genius in adults, as did the Independent.

It’s not all good for night owls, however. 

Those who like to stay up later tend to have slightly lower academic scores despite their higher IQs. 

5) They are open-minded (if they are young)

This is another one of those traits that you might have guessed. 

A study conducted by Dr. Jacqueline Bichsel found openness “to be a strong predictor of young adults’ ability to retain general knowledge and store short-term information.”

However, in older adults, openness has little effect on their ability to remember general knowledge. 

But how do we know someone’s level of openness? 

While you might gather it from your interactions with them, this next trait is a strong indicator. 

6) They are unconventional 

Geniuses are often unconventional, to say the least. 

This might be due to their openness. 

Einstein didn’t believe in wearing socks

Nikola Tesla hardly slept and would walk eight to ten miles every day! 

Benjamin Franklin and Theodore Roosevelt loved swimming in cold, cold water.  

A study also suggested that “liberals” and “atheists” tend to be more intelligent. 

So if you have a friend or colleague who has some weird habits or views of the world, combined with the other traits on this list, it could be a sign that they are really clever. 

7) They are risk takers 

Some might presume that intelligent people play it safe but evidence from a study in Finland would suggest that risk takers tend to be more intelligent. 

So that friend you regularly scoff at for taking a lot of risks may actually be very intelligent

However, there are, of course, some less positive signs that someone has high intelligence…like this next one. 

8) They are impulsive

Being super intelligent must come with some downsides, right? 

It sure does. 

One of these is a tendency to be impulsive. 

As noted in a post by Cognition Today, high intelligence is associated with two types of impulsivity. 

First, intelligent people tend to give in to instant gratification. 

Moreover, they are often unplanned. 

You can imagine that these combined are not exactly a recipe for success, but it is a trait that often comes with a high IQ, unfortunately. 

9) They are not very physically-active 

When we think of highly intelligent people, ‘lazy’ is not the first word that comes to mind. 

However, science begs to differ. 

A 2016 study published in the Journal of Health Psychology essentially found that smarter people were less physically active than those with lower intelligence. 

Turns out, we have no need to feel guilty when we skip that workout. 

We could just be really intelligent. 

10) They struggle with anxiety

Unfortunately, someone who is highly intelligent may suffer from anxiety.

This is backed up by several studies referenced by Psych Central

As noted, this may be due to their heightened awareness, constantly functioning brains, or sense of observation. 

Whatever the reason, if someone displays this trait along with the others on this list, they are probably really intelligent. 

Understanding the multifaceted nature of intelligenc

Intelligence is a complex and multi-dimensional concept, transcending beyond traditional academic and IQ measures. Recognizing its multifaceted nature is crucial in understanding the full spectrum of human intellect. Here are some key aspects to consider:

  1. Emotional Intelligence: This involves the ability to understand and manage one’s emotions, as well as empathize with others. People with high emotional intelligence navigate social complexities with ease and maintain better relationships.
  2. Creative Intelligence: This type of intelligence is not just about artistic abilities. It encompasses innovative thinking, problem-solving skills, and the capacity to look at situations from different perspectives.
  3. Practical Intelligence: Often referred to as ‘street smarts’, practical intelligence is the ability to adapt to various environments and situations, manage everyday tasks, and make sound decisions based on personal experiences.
  4. Social Intelligence: This involves understanding the dynamics of social interactions and behaving wisely in human relations. It’s not just about being extroverted but understanding social cues and responding appropriately.
  5. Philosophical and Reflective Intelligence: This aspect involves deep thinking, questioning assumptions, and contemplating life’s larger questions and values.

Recognizing these diverse aspects of intelligence helps us appreciate the varied strengths individuals possess. It broadens our perception of intelligence beyond conventional academic achievement, encompassing a richer and more diverse understanding of human capability.

Picture of Mal James

Mal James

Mal James Originally from Ireland, Mal is a content writer, entrepreneur, and teacher with a passion for self-development, productivity, relationships, and business. As an avid reader, Mal delves into a diverse range of genres, expanding his knowledge and honing his writing skills to empower readers to embark on their own transformative journeys. In his downtime, Mal can be found on the golf course or exploring the beautiful landscapes and diverse culture of Vietnam, where he is now based.

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