This article was updated on September 3, 2021.
Maybe you’re the type of person who grasps new concepts super quickly while others seem to need more time to process new information. In any case, if you’re curious to know whether you’re particularly gifted but not curious enough to invest in a fancy IQ test, there are signs that can reveal whether your intelligence surpasses the norm.
Ready to find out whether your suspicions have been right all along? Here are seven surprising, science-backed indicators you’re smarter than the average person.
1. You don’t believe you’re that smart
Here’s the kicker: The smartest people are actually so self-aware they might question their skills. Call it the curse of knowledge — the more you know, the more you’re aware that there is so much you don’t know. On the other hand, the Dunning-Kruger effect is a cognitive bias in which people think they are smarter and more competent than they actually are.
You might even have observed this type of unjustified overconfidence first-hand in the workplace or in social settings. So if you have a healthy level of conscientiousness when it comes to assessing your own performance, you might actually be super smart.
2. You understand the power of questions
“If I had an hour to solve a problem and my life depended on the solution, I would spend the first 55 minutes determining the proper question to ask. For once I know the proper question, I could solve the problem in less than five minutes,” said Albert Einstein.
If you, just like one of the most brilliant minds in history, understand the power of questions, your cognitive abilities probably go beyond what’s considered normal.
From staying curious to continuously questioning your own biases and not taking the status quo for granted, this inclination manifests in different ways — but it does mean you’re extra sharp.
3. You have a dirty mouth
Do you have to hold yourself back from swearing in professional settings? It might not be such a bad thing after all. A 2015 study revealed that “taboo word fluency” is actually correlated with having a broad vocabulary. Even better?
The tendency to have a dirty mouth is also associated with the trait of openness (based on the Big Five personality trait psychology model), which is about being imaginative, curious and open-minded — traits that tend to be shared by geniuses and innovators.
4. You’re a night owl
Could being late to bed and late to rise actually make you more wise? Yes, according to a study that explored “morningness-eveningness” and intelligence.
Researchers discovered that evening-types are more likely to score higher on intelligence tests. Kind of shocking, huh? So if you needed an excuse to justify your habit of going to bed super late, you might just have found it.
5. You’re pretty tall
Are you taller than average? If so, you might also be smarter. A 2008 study uncovered the link between height and cognitive ability.
Scientists looked at data from the U.S. and U.K. and concluded that taller children score higher than average on cognitive test scores. And while you can’t control your height, you sure can invest in learning new things, expanding your skills and abilities, so don’t fret if this doesn’t apply to you.
6. You like to crack jokes
A killer sense of humor translates into a killer intellect — at least according to a 2011 study from the University of New Mexico. It should come as no surprise that funny people tend to be considered more attractive in a dating context, which is the premise the researchers who conducted the study set out to explore.
But they also realized that the reason a sense of humor is considered so desirable is that intelligence actually precedes the ability to be funny. So if your sense of comedic timing is impeccable, it’s perhaps a reflection of your IQ.