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The three unlikely traits of highly intelligent people.

Every few days, I read a headline that implies that some weird personality trait of mine (e.g. not being able to ‘do’ life very well) doesn’t make me a typical, flawed human being, but an extremely intelligent one. 

I like the people who write these articles. They work for a noble cause and are responsible for a majority of my remaining self-esteem. And now, apparently, there’s research to suggest that three very unexpected traits are linked to a higher IQ.

And, unsurprisingly, I have all of them.

I mean...obviously. Image via Giphy.

Lots of swearing = very intelligent.

So this statement fundamentally ignores the nuances of scientific research BUT it does have some basis in truth.

Essentially, for a long time, people believed that those who swear a lot have a "restricted vocabulary." They swear because they don't have beautifully eloquent ways to describe how it feels when someone steps on your toe, or how heinously cute a puppy is on the street. Intelligent people, on the other hand, have such a nuanced vocabulary that they simply don't need to swear.

Well, science is now calling bulls**t.

To the contrary, researchers have found "fluency is fluency regardless of subject matter," such that intelligent people are really good at swearing, because they're good at language in general. In one particular study, people with the highest IQ also happened to be those who most excelled at recalling swear words.

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Ipso facto - swearing a lot makes you smart. HAND ME A PhD AND SEND ME TO MENSA I'M PRETTY MUCH READY TO HACK INTO THE GOVERNMENT'S SYSTEM (?) AND SOLVE ALL THE WORLD'S PROBLEMS.

Please God don't let her do that. Image via Giphy.

Staying up really late = hidden genius.

Oh my God, stop it! Just because I stay up til 3am watching Netflix sometimes does not mean I'm one of the smartest people you've ever come across. Seriously...you're flattering me!

Well, okay - fine. Maybe that's exactly what it means.

Studies have consistently linked night owls with higher IQ scores, and there's quite an interesting theory behind it.

Thousands of years ago, our ancestors limited most, if not all, their activities to the daylight hours. Very little occurred after sunset. So staying up late (or having the energy to stay up late) is evolutionarily novel. The theory goes that more intelligent individuals are more likely to acquire evolutionarily novel traits than less intelligent individuals, because we've adapted to the increased stimuli and cognitive challenges of the modern world.

So basically you're saying I'm smart. Okay. I like that. Image via Giphy.
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It's confusing, I know. But I understand it because I stay up late and am therefore super intelligent.

Messy desk = really smart.

Recent research suggests that having a messy desk is associated with intelligence, and in particular, the ability to think creatively.

It's thought that the brain of a person with a messy desk is focused on what really matters, like the tasks they're working on or the problems they're solving. Alternatively, when the brain isn't stimulated, it turns to trivial activities, like cleaning.

There's also research to show that having a messy desk allows one to break from convention and think outside the box. In controlled studies, those with a tidy desk tend to do what's expected of them, while those with a messy desk are able to challenge the status quo and produce fresh insights.

While writing this article (and procrastinating, because I think I read somewhere that's meant to be a sign of intelligence too) I took a photo of my desk.

Image supplied.

Does your desk have a pair of pliers on it? How about avocado mushed into your keyboard, and two half-full glasses of water?

I didn't think so.

Just call me Albert Einstein - I'm clearly a genius.

Even though men and women are equally as intelligent and capable in the workplace, men are far more likely to back themselves when it comes to employment. 

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