20 Signs Of High Intelligence That Aren’t Always Obvious

For the most part, people have a desire to be smart, or at least to be perceived as so by others. Few people wish that they were worse at something or weren’t as smart as they are. However, there are some types of intelligence that can’t be taught. This includes traits such as emotional intelligence, having a curious mind, or other skills people are born with. While some people’s intelligence is obvious, there are numerous potential signs of evidence that you may not know of!

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They Took Music Lessons

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It has been proven that people who have taken music lessons at one point or another tend to have a higher IQ than those who have not. It has also been found that this trend is most notable in children between the ages of four and six.

There have been numerous studies on the subject, and it has been concluded that learning an instrument can help people interpret and analyze things different rather than those who have never touched an instrument before.

They Are The Eldest Sibling

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Older siblings will be thrilled to hear that being an older sibling also tends to play a role in an individual’s intelligence. However, this has nothing to do with genetics. It’s simply because older siblings tend to have received a lot of attention from adults after they were born, and also have experience interacting with their younger siblings.

They are also the first to experience new things and learn lessons by making mistakes and setting an example.

They Are In Shape

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There have been a few studies conducted that have revealed that people with lower BMIs can be a sign of enhanced intelligence. One of the considerations is that more intelligent children might grow up to be more financially successful than less-intelligent people.

Having more money when you’re grown up allows people to take better care of the bodies and afford things like healthy food, gym memberships, and even access to decent healthcare.

Coming up: Tall people rejoice.

They Own A Cat

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While the argument about cats or dogs rages on, cat lovers will be happy to hear that owning a cat can be a sign of higher intelligence. While those who prefer dogs tend to be more outgoing and extroverted, those who own cats tend to be opposite.

According to a 2014 study, “cat people” may display higher levels of cognitive ability. This is most likely due to them staying at home spending their time reading and other similar activities.

They Experimented With Drugs

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In a 2012 study, researchers wrote that “in our large population-based cohort study, a high IQ at 11 years was associated with a greater likelihood of using selected illegal drugs 31 years later […] a high childhood IQ may prompt the adoption of behaviors that are potentially harmful to health in adulthood.”

Although drugs are dangerous, those with higher intelligence may be more inclined to experiment with drugs in order to satisfy their curiosity.

They Are Left-Handed


While most people wouldn’t think that their dominant hand would have an effect on intelligence, one experiment would say otherwise. According to Maria Konnikova, in a 1995 edition of The New Yorker,“Researchers found that the more marked the left-handed preference in a group of males, the better they were at tests of divergent thought…”

With the majority of the world being right-handed, it’s interesting to think that being left-handed may indeed have an effect on intelligence.

They Are Tall

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Apparently, height can also be a factor in determining a person’s intelligence. According to one study, as early as three years old, before children even attend school, their height may say something about how smart they are.

Supposedly, those who were taller as children and into adulthood perform significantly better on cognitive tests. Although being tall doesn’t automatically make you smarter than other people, it may have some kind of effect on a person’s intelligence.

See the difference that reading makes.

They Ask Big Questions

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Intelligent people aren’t satisfied with just learning about their immediate surroundings. They are often asking themselves or others highly existential questions such as the meaning of life, whether God exist, and other similar questions.

Although there isn’t a straight answer, they enjoy participating in conversations on these subjects, debating different philosophies and theories to help them wrap their head around such broad concepts. This often leads them to research and reading more than most people to satisfy their curiosities.

The Frequently Drink Alcohol

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Although it doesn’t make all that much sense, apparently, there is a correlation between people having a high IQ and frequently drinking alcohol. According to evolutionary psychologist Satoshi Kanazawa, British and American adults with high IQs as children or teens drank more alcohol when they grew up.

However, this is no reason to begin drinking more than you should, as alcohol can seriously lower your inhibitions and is unhealthy to frequently be putting in your body.

They Started Reading At A Young Age

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Those that learn to read at a young age have a huge advantage over those who don’t learn to read until later in life. Reading is one of the best things anyone can do to improve their intelligence, so there is no surprise that there’s a correlation between the two.

In a 2012 study, in pairs of identical twins, those who learned to read earlier tended to score higher in tests of cognitive ability as well as verbal and nonverbal skills.

Being disorganized may mean more than just being lazy.

They Are Frequently Anxious

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Those with higher IQs tend to be more anxious than those of lesser intelligence. Smarter people tend to over-analyze situations or become easily troubled with existential questions or worrying about issues and problems that are out of their control.

While those who are anxious have been proven to score higher in tests of verbal intelligence, those not plagued by anxiety tend to score higher on tests that test for nonverbal intelligence.

They Have A Good Sense Of Humor

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Apparently, having a good sense of humor is usually a reliable sign that a person has above-average intelligence. To prove this theory, a study collected 400 psychology students in order to judge the abstract reasoning skills and verbal intelligence of the group.

The students were asked to come up with captions for New Yorker cartoons. The captions were then rated by an independent group. The results demonstrated that the students with the funniest responses were also the ones with higher levels of intelligence.

They Are Constantly Curious


Curious people tend to be a sign of higher intelligence because it means that somebody isn’t content not knowing things. They want to understand how things work or why things are the way that they are.

According to Tomas-Prezumi, a professor of business psychology, “[Curiosity] leads to higher levels of intellectual investment and knowledge acquisition over time, especially in formal domains of education, such as science and art.” Basically, people who are curious look for answers, which means they acquire knowledge during their search.

They Are Disorganized

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While you might think that most intelligent people would be extremely organized, that’s not always the case. Many very intelligent people tend to have messy desks or rooms, something that’s attributed to having enhanced levels of creativity.

Even Albert Einstein was known to appear very disheveled with his work strewn out all over the place. Being messy doesn’t necessarily mean that someone is lazy or flustered, it can simply mean that the person doesn’t find organization to be more important than their work.

Sleep can play a big part in it.

They Don’t Believe In Luck

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Very intelligent people don’t believe in the concept of luck. This is so, because they have a better understanding of how the world works. To them, luck is just the result of hard work, planning, some coincidence, and preparation.

For example, a man who wants to start a business goes out and finds a good business idea for themselves. They don’t sit around and wait for someone to come to them with a bright idea. In a sense, intelligent people make their own luck.

They Were Breastfed As A Baby


Amazingly, something that has also be thought to improve intelligence is how babies are fed when they are young. Apparently, babies who are breastfed are apt to have a higher IQ than babies that weren’t.

This was proven in a 2007 study in which children who were breastfed scored about seven points higher in an IQ test in comparison to children who were not. However, this only applies if they had one version of the FADS2 gene.

They’re Night Owls

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People who stay up late and sleep in later are more likely to be more intelligent than those who have regular sleeping hours. Researchers believe that those who wake up later are less likely to get tired as fast as someone who gets up super early with the help of an alarm clock.

These people might enjoy being awake at night because it gives them the opportunity to be alone with their own thoughts and no distractions.

They Can Be Viewed As Lazy

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While being lazy may not sound like a quality that supports being intelligent, not exerting extra effort doesn’t necessarily mean that someone is lazy. Intelligent people tend to not exert too much effort because they’re smart enough to solve a problem or get something done without exerting more energy than they need.

This is often why intelligent people are unorganized, as they don’t feel that they need to spend the time organizing things when they’re confident they’ll be fine without it.

They Aren’t Easily Distracted


If you’re not easily distracted, this can be a sign of intelligence. According to the 2013 journal Current Biology, Frank Zhu claims that “People who can focus for long stretches at a time and tune out distractions” are highly intelligent.”

Intelligent people have the ability to focus on one thing, something that not everyone can say for themselves. They do this in order to get the job done and to not take time away from something else that they’d rather be doing.

They Admit What They Don’t Know

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The smartest people are those who have an understanding of how much they don’t know. While they may be intelligent, they can admit that they don’t know everything, which can make them more humble than most.

According to the academic Jim Winer “Intelligent people “are not afraid to say: ‘I don’t know.’ If they don’t know it, they can learn it”. If an intelligent person doesn’t know something, it may spark their curiosity and cause them to set out to find an answer.