7 subtle signs you’re smarter than the average person, according psychology

Have you ever felt you might be smarter than the average person?

Perhaps you watch others fail to solve problems that seem so easy to you. Or maybe you notice others making decisions you consider ill-advised, that have negative consequences. And you just think “Why?”

I recently did a free IQ test online and it told me I was sharper than average, which I immediately shoved in the face of my boyfriend until he got a similar score. But how do I know for sure that I’m one of the elite, or at least up there in the above-average category? 

Lucky for you (and me), psychologists have discovered some subtle signs that tell us if we’re above average on the smart scale. 

So if you’re like me and think you might be one of the clever ones, you’ll need to read on to find out what these subtle signs are. (Fingers crossed it’s not just all in my head).

1) Early reading

Well, this was a nice start for me. How about you?

I started reading before I started school because my mom was a teacher, so without knowing, she gave my brain a nice boost at an early age. 

Scientific evidence tells us that children who learn to read at a young age typically have a higher IQ. Now you might be thinking that perhaps children who learn to read at a younger age do so because they are smarter, but it’s not the case.

The reason that children who learn to read at an early age typically have higher IQs than those who don’t is because it has a positive developmental impact on their brains!

Woohoo! Thanks, Mom. 

2) You’re good at solving problems

Do you love solving riddles? Do you spend your spare time trying to break out of escape rooms? Are you the person people come to when they just can’t figure something out?

If you’re a good problem solver, according to this psychological study, then you’re more likely to be a smartie too. This is great news! 

The study tells us that if we’re good problem solvers then we probably use a mixture of convergent and divergent thinking.

This means that we use a combination of things that we already know, as well as some creative thinking to solve puzzles or problems.

If you’re a clever-clogs you use both sides of your brain to figure things out!

3) Having a sense of humor

Now, this one I love! Who’d have thought that funny people are also very clever? But then I thought about the funniest people I know, and to have wit you have to have something upstairs, don’t you?

But this psychologist explains that it’s not just the comedians who are the clever ones, it’s all people who watch and enjoy comedy. This is because these people have the cognitive ability to produce and process humor. 

You’ll likely have a higher vocabulary and understanding of words too. 

Who would’ve thought? So if you want to up your smarts, maybe pop down to the local comedy club to give your brain a bit of a workout!

4) You’re curious

Have you always been interested in learning new things? Are you constantly wondering why things happen and how things work? 

When we are curious, we open ourselves up to new experiences which expands our knowledge.

People who are interested in learning about the world around them are usually more clever than those who aren’t according to Dr Diane Hamilton. She’s a strong believer that a hungry mind is necessary for achievement.

In 2011 a psychological study was conducted that proved that Dr. Hamilton was indeed correct about her theory that intelligence is closely connected with curiosity.

Even Albert Einstein said, “Curiosity is more important than intelligence!”

5) Being adaptable

I’m sure you’ve heard how good change is for us. If we fight it nothing changes, but if we accept it then we can learn more. 

And of course, the more we learn, the smarter we get.

This article explains that if you are a flexible person then not only will you have the opportunity to learn more, but you will also become better at problem-solving. This shows that these skills are often intertwined. 

As well as an intelligence boost, some other benefits of adaptability are:

  • Helps to develop leadership skills
  • You’ll become a better listener
  • Increased emotional intelligence
  • Resilience
  • Increased confidence

6) Spending time alone

I love hanging out with my friends, but do you know what I like even more? Yep, you guessed it, spending time alone.

You’d think that spending time with others would make people smarter because of all the different conversations and perspectives, but this psychological study says smarter people enjoy spending time alone.

When we’re alone we have the time to reflect, think, learn, decompress, and declutter our brains. 

Being alone means that we can focus better, so it makes sense that people who spend more time doing this tend to be the intelligent ones.

So, if you also enjoy a bit of me time, then you might just be smarter than the average person!

7) You question yourself regularly

You might be thinking, surely if someone thinks they’re wrong it means they have low self-confidence? 

But it’s less to do with thinking you’re wrong, and more to do with not sharing everything that comes into your head as soon as it makes an appearance.

I know we can all be guilty of spurting out rubbish now and again, but if you’ve got a habit of doing so, you might be a bit less intelligent than your quieter friends.

If you know me, you’ll know I was a bit gutted about this (because I love to chat), until I read on. 

This study explains that when we question ourselves we are showing self-awareness. 

So instead of just blurting out what they think as soon as they think it, intelligent people mull over their opinions for a while, until they are sure about them. Or, they just wait and listen to what the other person has to say, then assess both sides of the coin. 

It goes on to say that smart people recognize they know a lot, but also that there is a lot they don’t know. 

They’re open to listening to and understanding the ideas and opinions of others. 

Now that sounds more like me. How about you?

Louisa Lopez

Louisa is writer, wellbeing coach, and world traveler, with a Masters in Social Anthropology. She is fascinated by people, psychology, spirituality and exploring psychedelics for personal growth and healing. She’s passionate about helping people and has been giving empowering advice professionally for over 10 years using the tarot. Louisa loves magical adventures and can often be found on a remote jungle island with her dogs. You can connect with her on Twitter: @StormJewel

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