3 Unusual Signs of Intelligence in Adults

By University of Arkansas Grantham August 31, 2016

If you’re always the disorganized, sleep-deprived, foul-mouthed person in the group, you may want to keep reading. Studies are claiming these three traditionally negative qualities are actually signs of intelligence in adults. You read that correctly. Gone are the days when you have to listen to people tell you “organization is key” or ask “do you talk to your mother with that mouth?”

As a UA Grantham student, you’ve most likely figured out how to filter your language in your discussion posts or hide your lack of sleep with one, two, maybe three cups of coffee. And you’ve probably mastered how to have an “organized mess.” But maybe the time has come to embrace your qualities, that perhaps were previously your flaws, and accept them as unique signs of your intelligence.

Now, let’s figure out what, exactly, these three signs of intelligence in adults are.

A Little Clutter Means Innovation and Creativity

We often hear sayings like “organization is key” or “a clean room is a clean mind.” But how much truth is there to these sayings? Well, according to recent research, tidiness may not necessarily be beneficial for creativity.

According to an article by the Association for Psychological Science, a team of researchers set out to learn more about the association between intelligent people and messy, cluttered settings.

Researchers put participants in either a cluttered or tidy office space and asked them to come up with new uses for ping pong balls. Even though participants in both the cluttered and tidy rooms came up with a comparable number of ideas, when evaluated by judges, the participants in the messy room came up with more creative and interesting ideas.

“Disorderly environments seem to inspire breaking free of tradition, which can produce fresh insights,” said Kathleen Vohs, lead scientist behind the experiment. “Orderly environments, in contrast, encourage convention and playing it safe.”

When you’re working on writing an essay or participating in a class discussion, don’t stress about the clutter around you. It’s actually helping your creative process!

You May Swear a Lot Because of Your High IQ

Despite what you may have been told in the past, if you enjoy adding swear words to your conversation it doesn’t automatically mean you have a limited vocabulary.

A recent study conducted by Dr. Timothy Jay, of the Department of Psychology at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, looked at the connection between verbal fluency and use of profanity.

A Medical Daily article notes that according to Jay’s study, “being fluent in taboo words was positively correlated with other measures of verbal fluency…speakers who use taboo words understand their expressive nature and nuanced distinctions implying the presence of more apt linguistic skill.”

So, next time somebody tells you your vocabulary is lacking because of a swear word, you can explain that you actually have “more apt linguistic skill.” But you may want to hold off on including those in your assignments unless your instructor tells you otherwise! And if you do want to work on other ways to improve your written assignments, check out the resources offered by the Teaching and Learning Center.

Your Advanced Intelligence Makes You a Night Owl

Have you ever questioned why we sleep when we do? It’s most likely a result of our ancestors getting up at sunrise and going to bed soon after sunset because of their limited ability to get things done in the dark.

Now, with access to electricity, it can be argued that “’smarter’ humans tended to adapt more quickly to changing conditions and they are more likely to adopt habits that don’t really make sense (at least to our ancestors). Intelligent people [have] overridden those instinctual habits of sleeping early, and they tended to stay up later than their peers.”

As an online degree student, if you find yourself more likely to complete your coursework late at night, it may not be because of procrastination. Instead, it may be a result of your ability to take advantage of the resources your ancestors weren’t able to.

How Do You Feel About These Signs of Intelligence in Adults?

These unique signs of intelligence in adults may be a little unconventional and there are certainly many other factors that go into determining a person’s intelligence. But to all of you messy, foul-mouthed, night owls out there: today is a good day.

As a student at an online university, you know how to think outside the box and find new ways to accomplish your goals. If you’ve felt guilty about having any of these traits in the past, know that (within reason) you can confidently embrace your inner intellect!

Get started at UA Grantham to put that intellect to work!

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