Science is always uprooting our understanding of how the mind works. The field of neuroscience in particular has taken some commonplace notions about intelligence, and turned them right on their head. Here are 6 correlations of high intelligence and behavior that may surprise you.
Forget what you’ve heard; having a perfect memory is not all it’s cracked up to be. According to a study published in Neuron, forgetfulness may be a sign of high intelligence. The study, which examined the neurobiology of remembering and forgetting, found that people who tend to forget mundane details such as people’s names or the whereabouts of their car keys have a more fluid and efficient memory for storing important info and discarding what is trivial or unuseful. Their brains are better at overwriting old memories with new information and are wired to pick up on broader patterns and associations while only holding on to details that are relevant for optimal decision making.
The next time someone chastises you for having your head in the clouds, you can take it as a compliment. A study conducted at the Georgia Institute of Technology concluded that people who daydream have more efficient brains. A research team measured the brain patterns of over 100 people as they focused on a fixed point and then tested their intellect and creativity. The participants who said they daydream frequently, scored higher on the intellectual and creative tests and had more efficient brain systems. It is reasoned that excess mental capacity makes the brain so efficient that it can’t help but check out from the present.
Research from the Florida Gulf Coast University suggests that smarter people tend to be more lazy. The study tested participants with a questionnaire that distinguished them as either a ‘thinker’ or ‘non-thinker’. Over the next several days, the activity levels of each participant was tracked with a wrist device. Results showed that the thinking group was significantly less active than the non-thinkers. It is believed that smarter people get bored less easily because they can preoccupy themselves with mental activity whereas non-cerebral people seek external stimulation and physical activity.
Researchers at the University of Rochester found that people with higher IQs tend to have potty mouths. Rather than being a sign of a limited vocabulary, the use of colorful language may indicate the opposite, so if you are known to curse up a storm, then you’re probably smarter than average. The study also found that highly intelligent people were more likely to eat spicy breakfasts, and walk around the house naked.
Are you a wise acre? Well congratulations because researchers found a correlation between “snark” and “smart”. Not only is sarcasm a sign of wit, but it also carries benefits for both givers and recipients of it. Sarcasm involves an extra layer of thinking that is creative and people who do it well are rightly clever. Research at Harvard and Columbia Universities have found that sarcasm can also enhance abstraction and creativity in the person on the receiving end of it so now you can rest assured that your ironic remarks are a gift to the world.
Research shows that disorganized people tend to be smarter and more creative than their orderly peers. People who can’t seem to keep their desk and work environment from looking like Nagasaki after the bomb, are likely to be highly creative and intelligent according to a neuroscience experiment by Robert Thatcher. The lack of organization relates to the nonlinear thought processes of creative people and their preoccupation with ideas rather than concern for state of their physical environment. It also facilitates the formation of new connections and juxtapositions that break the mold.
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