“Intelligence has been defined in many ways: the capacity for abstraction, logic, understanding, self-awareness, learning, emotional knowledge, reasoning, planning, creativity, critical thinking, and problem-solving.”
These seven different kinds of smart are:
Word Smart (linguistic intelligence)
Math Smart (numerical/reasoning/logic intelligence)
Physically Smart (kinesthetic intelligence)
Music Smart (musical intelligence)
People Smart (interpersonal intelligence)
Self Smart (intrapersonal intelligence)
Visually Smart (Spatial intelligence)
Blue Oyster Cult: E.T.I. (Extra Terraestrial Intelligence)
“A highly intelligent person is one who is flexible in their thinking and can adapt to changes, they think before they speak or act, and they’re able to effectively manage their emotions,” Dr. Catherine Jackson, licensed clinical psychologist and board certified neurotherapist, tells Bustle. “In short, they possess several different types of intelligence, including but not limited to intellectual, social, and emotional intelligence.”
Researchers have looked into the many different traits highly intelligent people have in common. For instance, a 2016 study published in the British Journal of Psychology, found that highly intelligent people actually prefer to be alone. It was found that smarter people tend to experience lower life satisfaction the more often they socialize with friends. According to evolutionary psychology, people evolved to be intelligent in order to solve problems. So those who are happier being alone were seen as highly intelligent because they have the ability to face challenges on their own without needing any help.
Rest assured, if you’re a social butterfly, it doesn’t mean that you’re not smart. You may possess other qualities that show off your intelligence, like having the ability to easily connect with others.
According to Jackson, highly intelligent people don’t often think of themselves like that. So here are a few signs of an intelligent person, according to experts.
You’re Empathetic & Compassionate
“There’s a correlation between high emotional intelligence and high IQ in psychological assessments,” Christine Scott-Hudson, licensed psychotherapist and owner of Create Your Life Studio, tells Bustle. “We know that the higher a person scores in traits of empathy, the higher the person will score in traits of effective verbal comprehension.”
In other words, empathy, which is part of emotional intelligence, and comprehension, which is part of cognitive intelligence, is directly linked. So if you lead with your heart, Scott-Hudson says, there’s a good chance that you also lead with your mind.
You’re Curious About The World
It’s easy to assume that highly intelligent people like to read. But being smart isn’t about having the ability to go through a number of books a day. It’s about having a curiosity about anything and everything. “Intelligent people engage their passions and ask questions like who, what, when, where, how, why, and what if,” Scott-Hudson says. They like learning about other people, cultures, animals, history, and the world at large. While having a love of reading isn’t necessarily a sign of intelligence, it does show that you like learning and you’re curious.
The smartest person in the room isn’t always the loudest. “In a world where people talk to prove who they are, highly intelligent people are the opposite,” Jackson says. Instead of boasting about their accomplishments or telling people how right their opinions are, they’re usually quiet and observant. When you have the ability to take everything in, you can see things that others missed, like subtle patterns.
You Have Self-Control
Having self-control means you’re mature. You know how to control your emotions and impulses so they won’t cause any harm. According to Jackson, having self-control is a sign of intelligence because it means you’re more likely to think before you speak or act. “When [these people] experience discomfort in their lives, they also work to solve the issue and reduce the discomfort quickly,” she says.
You Have A Good Working Memory
“A good working memory and general intelligence is highly correlated,” Jackson says. When you have a good working memory, this means you have executive functioning skills, good short-term memory, the ability to focus and pay attention. It also means you have cognitive flexibility, and can easily transition from one thing to another.
You Recognize Your Limits
Highly intelligent people don’t try to act as if they know everything. In fact, a sign of intelligence is recognizing the fact that you don’t know everything. “If they can’t do something they don’t try and act as if they can,” Jackson says. “Instead they know their limits and can admit it. This allows them to be open to learning more from others and/or situations.”
You Like To Go With The Flow
The smartest people don’t waste time worrying over things they can’t control. If you know how to be flexible and go with the flow, there’s a chance that’s you’re highly intelligent. “Rather than being rigid about what must happen, they remain mentally flexible, open-minded and can easily adjust to life, no matter what gets throw their ways,” Jackson says. It basically shows that you can solve problems and find solutions quickly.
You’re Passionate About Things That Really Interest You
Curiosity, passion, and a desire to learn are key traits of highly intelligent individuals. According to licensed clinical psychologist, Dr. Holly Schiff, Psy.D., people with high intelligence follow their curiosities. “They are able to admit when they aren’t familiar with a particular concept or if something falls outside of their realm of knowledge, and are willing to learn what they don’t know,” Schiff says. “Their intellectual curiosity will lend itself to wanting to self-educate and read anything they can get their hands on.” When something really interests them, they will invest a lot of time and energy into learning what they can.
You Ask Thoughtful Questions & Build Off Conversations
Highly intelligent people do things with purpose. According to Andi Simon, Ph.D., corporate anthropologist and author of Rethink: Smashing the Myths of Women in Business, they don’t just ask a bunch of questions for the sake of asking questions. They do so in order to gain insight that can help them better understand what they’re doing, thinking, feeling, and anticipating. “Someone must have said this often-quoted line: ‘Knowledge is having the right answer. Intelligence is asking the right question,’” Simon says. “We forget that all of life is a conversation. Intelligent people recognize that others have information and insights that through a shared conversation will help both grow, expand their wisdom and enhance their intellect.”
People Trust & Follow You
If people seem to trust your judgement and look up to you as a leader, that’s a sign that you may be highly intelligent. According to Simon, “People like to follow intelligent people who have developed the skills necessary to break down jobs into understandable components, motivate them to work towards a common goal, and celebrate results so they sustain the team’s momentum.”
Simon cites a 2014 published by Oxford University, which found that trust is an important part of culture and society, that’s not only linked to positive individual outcomes, such as entrepreneurship and happiness, but it’s also highly correlated with intelligence. “In research across countries, results suggested that trust is highly associated with intelligent individuals and serves as a valuable social resource influencing how people follow others,” she says. People will are more willing to follow and trust those who are smart and know how to effectively lead a group of people.
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What are some scientifically proven facts about intelligent people?
- Staying up late is a sign of high intelligence: due to increased brain activity at night.
- Being funny and a high sense of humor is a sign of high intelligence.
- More than half of the population in the world have just average intelligence.
- Intelligent people always want to know more about the world.
- Intellectuals go to sleep late and get up late.
- Highly intelligent people tend to have less friends than the average person.
- Talking to yourself is the sign of high intelligence.
- They underestimate themselves more than ignorant people.
- They are Open-Minded.
- They are less likely to keep traditional values.
- Grades and Age don’t determine Intelligence.
- Worrying too much is associated with high intelligence.
- Intelligent People like to avoid conflict. They notice everything but tend to say nothing.
- They are very good liars as it requires many complex calculations to cover up lies.
- Highly intelligent people are socially awkward.
- Highly intelligent people are more faithful than others.
Below is a list of the seven intelligences, their strengths, and how those strengths can be expanded into other subjects.
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Intelligence Strengths Approaches
| Math Smart | Displays numerical aptitude Likes problem solving Likes to understand how things work Gets mathematical concepts Likes puzzles and manipulatives Abstract ideas Deciphering codes Being organized | Math games, manipulatives, computers, word scrambles, mind mapping stories, likes to quantify and conceptualize things, use reason and logic, predict patterns,
| Word Smart | Creative writing Debates Enjoys words and word games Likes reading Ability to reason Good speller Good at speaking in front of others | words and stories are the strength here, reading, writing, books, discussing, journaling, word play such as etymology, exploring metaphors and similes
| Musically Smart | Can carry a tune Perfect pitch Is drawn to music Sees rhythmic patters Enjoy the SOUND of language, such as poetry Good singing voice Sensitive to the mood and nuance of music | Emphasize rhythm and sound patterns such as poetry. Clap out sounds of syllables, read out loud, work with onomatopoeia. Set things to jingles, have music playing in the background for association and retrieval.
| Art Smart | Recognizes patters and designs Good at drawing, painting, sculpture Has a good sense of color Like visual clues Thinks in pictures Good at reading maps, charts, diagrams | visual clues are key to accessing this strength. Draw, color, paint, maps, diagrams, charts, color coding, use illustrations to stimulate reading and writing, graphs, maps, art materials, spacial relationships
| Body Smart | Excels at sports Likes to move; dance, wiggle, Good fine motor skills Has excellent control over his body Good sense of timing Likes to touch things Good at crafts | learns best through movement. enjoys building, moving, touching, acting things out using their bodies, chalk boards, dry erase boards, different kinesthetic ways of experiencing writing. Use building tools, clay, sports, tactile experiences. Oftentimes an allowed fidget aids learning (using a bouncy ball for a chair, squishing a hand strengthener.)
| People Smart | Good communicator Diplomatic Empathetic Likes group projects Good negotiator Has lots of friends Good at reading social situations and clues | social interaction is key to learning; group learning, teams, brainstorming, collaboration, diplomacy, negotiating, group discussion, reader’s theater
| Self Smart | Likes to spend time alone, thinking Prefers working alone Good at understanding self Develops personal strategies Ruminates Good at processing emotions Tends to know oneself Good at self-reflection | learns best through self exploration, reflection, journaling, examining concepts within the context of their personal life, solitude
Gardner’s view on intelligence states that there are 9 abilities that simply make us the intelligent beings that we are today and these 9 are musical-rhythmic, visual-spatial, verbal-linguistic, logical-mathematical, bodily-kinesthetic, interpersonal, intrapersonal, naturalistic and existential.
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