8 signs that someone is a highly intelligent empath, according to psychology

We sometimes include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Read our affiliate disclosure.

Empaths are defined as people who have higher-than-average levels of empathy. 

Yet, as research shows, empathy is closely related to emotional intelligence, so it’s unsurprising that many empaths are highly intelligent.

Psychology has begun to uncover the characteristics that distinguish these highly intelligent empaths.

Thanks to several additional skills and traits, empaths with high intelligence can better manage and regulate their emotions.

In this article, we delve into eight signs that suggest you might be a highly intelligent empath and the benefits this unique personality brings…

1) You quickly understand the reason for yours and others emotions

Unlike ordinary empaths, highly intelligent empaths not only sense emotions but quickly understand them, too.

For example, with their own emotions, they can swiftly establish what has triggered a particular feeling, linking their emotions to specific instances.

This is very different from other empaths, who often experience emotions heavily but do not understand why they feel that way.

This trait also allows highly intelligent empaths to recognize the underlying motivations behind other people’s behaviors and emotions. 

Studies in emotional intelligence have shown that individuals with high levels of empathy tend to exhibit greater emotional awareness and sensitivity.

Moreover, their ability to empathize is not limited to those close to them but extends to strangers. This reflects their deep-seated concern for all living things.

2) You’re very observant

Highly intelligent empaths are incredibly observant of their surroundings.

They notice subtle cues in body language, tone of voice, and facial expressions, which allow them to grasp the emotions and intentions of others accurately.

So, if you have a knack for reading people, this could be why!

According to psychologist Dr Paul Ekman, our nonverbal behavior does not always coordinate with what we are saying. 

As a result, many people overlook or misunderstand this unspoken information, leading to wrong assumptions and a lack of interpersonal understanding.

However, people with empathy and emotional intelligence can read microexpressions and accurately interpret nonverbal signals.

This heightened perceptiveness allows them to understand what others consciously and unconsciously think.

They may even understand how someone is feeling before that person knows themselves!

3) You understand a diverse range of viewpoints

If you’re a highly intelligent empath, you can step into anyone’s shoes and see the world through their eyes.

This is because of two things:

  • You deeply understand others’ thoughts, feelings, motivations, and intentions.
  • You possess a high cognitive flexibility, which allows you to appreciate the complexity of human experiences and make empathetic connections with people from all walks of life

Psychological research has found a strong connection between empathy and perspective-taking. 

This is why people lacking empathy appear self-centered, as they can only see things from their perspective.

Yet interestingly, research has also found that practicing seeing things from other people’s perspectives increases your compassion and empathy.

4) You use logic and analytical reasoning when making decisions

Many empaths make decisions solely based on their emotions. In other words, they always listen to their hearts rather than their heads.

However, empaths with high intelligence use both analytical thinking and emotional insight to make a decision or find a solution to a problem.

They are able to approach situations much more rationally than other empaths because they can separate their emotions from the situation.

As research shows, combining cognitive and emotional competencies increases the likelihood of effective decision-making and interpersonal relations.

So essentially, highly intelligent empaths make better decisions!

Plus, being able to use both brain hemispheres simultaneously means you will probably also possess the following skill…

5) You’re innovative

Highly intelligent empaths are skillful at combining empathy with analytical thinking. 

Because of this, they can devise innovative solutions, particularly those that inspire positive change or contribute to solving complex societal challenges.

Their empathetic nature also gives them superior insights into human behavior, allowing them to generate novel ideas.

Moreover, their ability to understand others’ perspectives allows them to identify underlying issues and address them effectively.

So, if people often comment on how you always have great ideas, this is another sign that you’re an intelligent empath!


If you’re a manager or team leader, your empathy will inspire your team to be more innovative, as this study by Catalyst found.

6) You thrive in leadership positions

The stereotype of leaders having to be bold, blunt, and cold is quickly diminishing.

Recent research has found that empathy is a crucial trait of effective leadership.


Empathetic people have the desirable skill of understanding their team members, which allows them to motivate them effectively.

Studies show that empathetic leaders are more trusted and respected by their followers, leading to higher engagement and productivity.

What’s more…

Highly intelligent empaths particularly possess natural leadership qualities, as they can connect with others on an emotional level while also providing strategic direction. 

7) You can set and maintain personal boundaries

One of the downsides of being an empath is that you can be overly sensitive to others’ emotions.

As a result, it’s easy for an empath to put the needs of others ahead of their own.

Moreover, they can absorb too much heavy energy from others, leaving them feeling drained.

One thing that sets highly intelligent empaths apart from other empaths is their ability to recognize the importance of setting boundaries to protect their own well-being.

They understand that excessive emotional absorption will cause burnout. So, to help others, they know they must first fill their own cup.

Considering this, if you’re a highly intelligent empath, you likely have established healthy limits on your interactions. 

I have personally had to do this recently. 

As a cat lover and empath, I sometimes get too emotionally involved in cat rescue work.

So, to prevent emotional exhaustion and compassion fatigue, I’ve had to set strict boundaries for what I can and cannot take on.

Sure, my empathetic nature means that sometimes I want to ignore these boundaries, but thankfully, my emotional intelligence always steps in before I do.

8) You have a strong moral compass

In 2017, researchers in China undertook a study on the relationship between intelligence, empathy, and moral identity.

They found that people with high empathy and intelligence are more likely to display moral behaviors, such as engaging in voluntary and charity work, than those with only one of the two traits.

This is due to the combination of the following two factors:

  • A deep concern for others (empathy) 
  • The ability to interpret situational cues and understand other people’s perspectives (intelligence)

But this is not to say that normal empaths do not have moral values. Many empaths feel compelled to help others and make a difference in the world around them.

However, as the researchers noticed, some empaths can feel overwhelmed and distressed by seeing others in pain or suffering.

Because of this, some charity work, such as animal rescue or child welfare, can prove too much of an emotional burden on them.

But, as highly intelligent empaths have what is known as cognitive empathy, they can empathize with the victims without personal distress.

Final thoughts

Empaths have impressive emotional abilities that allow them to connect deeply to themselves and those around them.

However, when an empath is also highly intelligent, their additional cognitive skills help them navigate complex social situations.

Plus, this IQ allows them to do something many empaths struggle with – setting boundaries and protecting their energy!

By integrating analytical thinking with emotional insight, highly intelligent empaths can and often do positively impact the world around them!

Gemma Clarke

I am a certified yoga and mindfulness teacher and an experienced content writer in the spirituality and personal growth space.
I’m passionate about sharing my expertise through the power of
words to inspire and guide others along the path of personal and spiritual development.

12 things in life genuinely classy people always keep to themselves

6 things that motivate introverts the most, according to psychology