What does it mean to be smart? If you ask some people, it means being wise in the ways of the world, no matter your level of education. If you ask others, they will tell you it's all about your SAT scores and nothing else matters. To some, only those who attended Ivy League schools and earned at least a master's can claim intelligence.
Whatever the true definition of "smart," most would agree that whether someone is actually intelligent is actually far more subjective than most of us would like. But the people at Business Insider have other ideas. They have compiled a list of 20 qualities that smarter-than-average people possess from a series of studies and present it as proof positive that those who see themselves are smarter than average!
So what are those 20 qualities? Here they are ... and please remember, I didn't write these. Don't shoot the messenger! The 20 qualities that make you smart:
- You use (or have used) recreational drugs: People who use drugs are generally more open to experiences and not obeying the rules -- both of which are signs of intelligence. According to Psychology Today:
"Intelligent people don't always do the right thing," they write, "only the evolutionarily novel thing."
- You are liberal: Not surprisingly, liberals are smarter on average than conservatives. Why is this? Liberal beliefs would not have benefited our ancestors.
"The adoption of some evolutionarily novel ideas makes some sense in terms of moving the species forward," CNN quotes George Washington University leadership professor James Bailey, who was not involved in the study. "It also makes perfect sense that more intelligent people -- people with, sort of, more intellectual firepower -- are likely to be the ones to do that."
- You are a guy who is monogamous: Honest to God (Ahem, see below)! It says this! Men who are monogamous are also cutting against the evolutionary desire to "spread their seed," thus they are smarter. And here you thought all that Star Trek, role playing stuff was ruining your sex life. Turns out it is your above average intelligence!
- You are an atheist: Sorry religious folks! Again, don't shoot the messenger. It turns out atheism is linked to higher IQs and that, "believing in God has been historically advantageous to humans. Challenging an ancient mindset is a sign of intelligence."
- You are the oldest: If you think you are smarter than your baby sister, then you are right! Take that Mommy's pet! You may be the cuddliest baby, but your brain cells are nothing compared to mine!
The New York Times writes, "The new findings, from a landmark study published [June 2007], showed that eldest children had a slight but significant edge in I.Q. -- an average of three points over the closest sibling."
- Your mom had bad morning sickness with you: Ok, then, Moving on.
- You held your V-card for a long time: If you had sex past age 20 for the first time then you are way, way smarter than those who did not abstain. According to the Penn State Collegiate:
"Adolescents with IQ scores ranging from 70 to 110 had the lowest probability of virginity, according to two researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The average IQ score is 90 to 110."
- You mom laid off the tuna in pregnancy: Mercury exposure makes you dumb, yo. In fact, "The U.S. loses $8.7 billion every year thanks to IQs lowered by mercury exposure." PB&J never looked so good!
- Your parents are smart: Genetics, baby!
- You don't smoke: Smoking lowers your IQ. But then, think of the people who smoke ... any questions?
- Breastfeeding: Not to get all debate-y up in here, but breastfeeding does make you smarter after all.
In two studies of breast-fed infants involving more than 3,000 children in Britain and New Zealand, breastfeeding was found to raise intelligence an average of nearly 7 IQ points if the children had a particular version of a gene called FADS2.
- Music lessons: Remember those kids who played the piano and violin and were giant dorks? Yep, they are CEOs now. Because they are smarter than you:
"There is growing evidence that musicians have structurally and functionally different brains compared with non-musicians.
- You don't dig on Twitter: Electronics are harming our IQs. Seriously.
- You are a lefty: The left brain normally controls your right side, which means that right-handed folks -- the majority -- do not develop the other side as well as leftys.
- You'd rather burn the midnight oil: Rats! I was doing so well until now. Sadly, I am a morning person, which apparently makes me dumb.
"Sleep researchers tend to divide people into two groups, explains zoologist Robert Alison in the Winnipeg Free Press, based on whether they exhibit 'morningness' or 'eveningness.' A recent study claims that eveningness is an evolutionary advancement that marks out 'more intelligent individuals,' while those with lower IQs tend to restrict their activities primarily to daytime."
- Height: Taller kids perform better on tests. That carries through life.
- Eyes so blue: Another mark against me! Ouch!
Fox News reports, "Light-eyed individuals and even light-eyed animals perform better at behaviors requiring delay, self-pacing, or non-reactors, while dark-eyed individuals and animals perform better at behaviors requiring speed, sensitivity or reactivity, according to a paper authored by University of Louisville professor emeritus Joanne Rowe."
- You have a big brain: Duh.
- You get the net: Most experts believe the Internet benefits intelligence. Look at you all smart online!
- Body size: Thin people tend to be smarter. According to Business Insider:
It's not that overweight people are born with lower IQs. Rather, obesity seems to have a negative effect overtime.
What do you think? Do you see yourself on this? Do you feel smarter or dumber?
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