This One Personality Trait Is Linked To A Higher IQ

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The concept of IQ, or intelligence quotient, has been around for over 100 years now, being used to measure the so-called ‘standardized’ intelligence of those who take the test.

In more recent years, the test’s validity as a universal measure has been questioned, but it still remains the most prominent test of intellect we have today. Thanks to continued research on it, studies have determined that alongside heightened intelligence, there are other traits that those with a high IQ share, ones you can use to see if you would also score highly on an IQ test.

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Climbing The Intelligence Ladder

IQ has long since been a general measure of intelligence. The higher your IQ, the more conventionally ‘smart’ you’ll be considered. This is often reflected more in academic contexts, but the types of intelligence prominent in those with high IQ can be useful in many areas of life.

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Not everyone has the means or opportunity to take a formal, measured IQ test though. Instead, you can analyze your traits and see which ones measure up with those who do have a certifiably high IQ.

As a matter of fact, there’s one trait in particular that researchers consider highly related to high IQ.

Open To All


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A 2013 study by Dr. Scott Barry Kaufman and his team proved that openness (alongside being one of the “five major aspects of personality” alongside conscientiousness, neuroticism, agreeableness, and extroversion) was also an indicator of high overall intelligence.

“Openness to experience is the broadest personality domain of the Big Five, including a mix of traits relating to intellectual curiosity, intellectual interests, perceived intelligence, imagination, creativity, artistic and aesthetic interests, emotional and fantasy richness, and unconventionality,” Kaufman wrote.

Patterns Emerging

The study itself was conducted via a survey given to 146 people. They were asked a number of questions about their personality and intelligence, after which the answers were linked together and conclusions were drawn.

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This is where the connection between openness and high IQ was drawn, as those who gave answers denoting a more open mind also scored highly in the questions relating to intelligence.

This was true across all age groups and other demographic breakdowns, the most consistent of the measurable traits.

Taking It All In

What exactly is openness? What does it mean in this context?

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As seen in the quote from before, the study lists it as ‘openness to experience,’ which is a little more specific in the name. It denotes those who are more open to experiencing new things. It describes someone who is engaged in taking in new perspectives, trying new things, and wanting to experience as much of the world around them as they can.

It’s believed that building this varied history lends a lot to one’s intelligence.

Of Two Minds

The study narrowed openness to experience down to two major aspects that were the most related to intelligence: intellectual engagement and aesthetic engagement.

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Intellectual engagement includes things like enjoying abstract thinking, problem-solving, enjoying reading, and puzzle-type activities.

Aesthetic engagement includes engaging in arts and culture. That could be going to the movies a lot, playing an instrument, being an artist of any sort, or enjoying physical activity like dancing.

These two distinctions reflect the two halves of the brain, the left brain dedicated to logic and the right brain dedicated to creativity. It makes sense that actively engaging both sides is an active indicator of intelligence.

Openness Et Al.

Throughout the years and among other studies, other traits have been connected to higher intelligence. These include things like curiosity, a trusting nature, and generosity.

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Curiosity is similar to openness in that they both drive “cognitive hunger,” which is the brain’s desire to seek out new things to learn.

Trust and generosity are also often grouped together as they both display intelligence surrounding interpersonal relationships, being able to tell when someone is in need and dispelling thoughts of doubt regarding others’ motives.

There’s More Out There

All this being said, I think it’s worth noting that IQ isn’t everything. Having a high IQ doesn’t make you a better or more worthy person, it’s just yet another metric we chose to measure ourselves with.

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In my humble opinion, it’s better to focus on having these traits divorced from IQ. You shouldn’t want to be a more open, curious, giving person because you think it makes you look smarter; you should want to be these things so you can experience the best life has to offer! You should want to engage in critical thinking, you should want to learn about other cultures, and you should want to trust others because all those things will enrich your life for years to come.

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Daniel Mitchell-Benoit

Dan is a content writer with three years of experience under their belt, having mostly covered viral media but now shifting toward spirituality and astrology. He’s a strong believer in using one’s beliefs as a means of self-improvement and being in touch with whatever messages the universe has to offer.

He can’t wait to share his insights with a[…]