9 signs of intelligence in a person

Have you ever wondered if you are an intelligent person? While studying human intelligence, researchers have found some traits or signs of intelligence that are shared by those with skills and reasoning abilities higher than average. Being modest, open-minded, and curious, for example, are traits of character that are always present in these individuals. Even if you have not taken an IQ test to evaluate your intelligence, the following signs can already tell you if your intelligence is remarkable.
signs of intelligence

1. You enjoy being by yourself

Not all of those who enjoy solitude are smart, but all smart people seem to enjoy a fair degree of solitude.
Being by themselves allows them to spend more time on their own heads, thinking deeply, brainstorming, and analyzing problems and possible solutions. Solitude also allows them to pursue their interests and further their knowledge on whichever subject that has picked their attention at that moment in time.

2. You are messy

A messy person is often perceived as someone without self-control and discipline. Although there might be some truth behind this perception, being messy can also be a sign of intelligence.
According to a study by Dr. Kathleen Vohs of the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management, a messy environment can fuel creativity and help an individual think outside of the box.
Therefore, if you are a messy person by nature, do not berate yourself. It might simply be an expression of your intelligence.

3. You know how much you do not know

Knowing yourself, your pitfalls, and having a good sense of how developed your skills and knowledge are, is a clear sign of intelligence. Only intelligent people who are sufficiently aware of themselves realize how vast knowledge can be and understand that they do not know all the answers.
This notion stems from the Dunning–Kruger Effect, according to which, ignorant people are not aware of their own ignorance. Through several studies, social psychologists David Dunning and Justin Kruger discovered that less capable and intellectually developed individuals tend to overestimate themselves.
For instance, in one of the many investigations led by the two psychologists, they presented several made-up terms related to politics, physics, biology, and geography, interjected with genuine terms.  Most participants claimed to know or at least have some knowledge about the made-up terms. As David Dunning puts it: “The trouble with ignorance is that it feels so much like expertise”.

4. You have a strong sense of self

Knowing how much you do not know is only a part of having a strong sense of self. There are other signs of intelligence attached to it.
Knowing yourself also implies that you are well aware of your beliefs, moral code and which are your strongest and weakest points.  You tend to consciously or unconsciously choose a path that best suits your traits and beliefs to increase your chances of success.
Additionally, you are not easily influenced or swayed by other people’s opinions. This does not mean that you are inflexible, but rather that you do not take anything at face value and prefer to discuss and think carefully about all the facts instead of accepting them blindly.

5. You are open-minded

Smart people are open to different opinions and points of view, as they consider them a way to broaden their knowledge and their perspectives. Even if in the end they might disagree with them, they still perceive their value.
This sign of intelligence is intertwined with the fact that smart people are aware of how much they do not know (as mentioned in point 3). Since they are self-aware of this fact, they are open to alternative solutions and opinions to build their own knowledge.

6. You are curious

Curious people are drawn to new knowledge. They enjoy reading, art, exploring new subjects and new languages, and learning more about anything and everything.
This thirst for knowledge is also reflected in their IQ test scores, for instance. These tests are designed to measure two types of intelligence: crystallized intelligence and fluid intelligence. The latter refers to one’s natural cognitive skills and tends to diminish with age, as brain functions decay. Crystallized intelligence, on the other hand, refers to the knowledge and skills a person acquires in the course of their life.
Since smart people are inherently curious, they keep cultivating their crystallized intelligence with new knowledge.

7. You have self-control

People with self-control can keep their emotions in check and contain their impulsiveness when analyzing a problem. By keeping a clear mind, they are better able to access the situation, plan a course of action, look for alternative strategies and predict the different possible outcomes for each case.
Furthermore, self-control also increases their ability to listen attentively to others’ opinions and perspectives, understand where they are coming from, and learn from them or refute them logically. People that have a hard time restraining themselves are more likely to speak over others and let their emotions cloud their judgment and interfere with their reasoning process.

8. You have a good sense of humor

Having a good sense of humor can also be a sign of intelligence. To be funny, a person has to be creative and have a good understanding and control over language. This is valid both for spoken/written jokes as well as cartoons. To be pertinent and funny, the drawn images must creatively trigger the recollection of words and lead a person to infer the joke.
Indeed, in 2011, a psychology study confirmed that comedians tend to score very high on tests evaluating verbal intelligence. A different study from 2017 has also shown that people with high nonverbal and verbal intelligence are more prone to enjoy black humor as they are capable of processing the conceptual information behind the jokes.
Interestingly, the subjects who enjoyed this type of humor did not display any aggressiveness or mood disturbance, which agrees with the fact that smart people have a high degree of self-control.

9. You are empathetic

Emotional intelligence goes hand in hand with what is considered “regular intelligence”. An empathetic person can understand others’ feelings and emotions through their words and body language. Having this information in consideration helps them better understand where their opinions and perspectives come from and value them accordingly.

Additionally, by being able to “read the room”, a smart person is better prepared to set goals, plan a course of action and predict outcomes before they begin their action.



Do you recognize these 9 signs of intelligence in yourself? If so, congratulations. It means that you are a smart person that is always seeking to grow more each day and learn more about everything and everyone. If not, do not feel discouraged. Intelligence can be cultivated are there are ways to improve your IQ and become smarter. Even if in the beginning you might have to actively seek the change, as your intelligence grows, these signs will become inherent to you.

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