Smarter than the average bear!
Lifetime studies have shown that IQ (Intelligence Quotient) is fixed at an early age, so… whichever way you look at it, and however smart you think you are, you’ll always be stuck with what you’ve got. The good news is that IQ is far from being the only thing that determines success in life!
Research shows (and life proves) that IQ isn’t even the most important factor. A lot of people drift through life never knowing exactly how smart they really are. IQ is a difficult thing to measure and takes no account, for example, of artistic or musical ability, or how ‘streetwise’ you might be. But new research provides some interesting clues linking early life experiences to, amongst other things, high intelligence.
If any of the following personality traits apply to you, you might just be in a high IQ group.
Do you sometimes suffer from anxiety?
We’ve all been taught to believe that anxiety is a negative emotion, and it often is, but anxiety is a two-way street. Guess what? People with symptoms of severe anxiety achieve higher IQ scores than those with milder symptoms, and most people who suffer with anxiety achieve higher verbal IQ scores!
It’s often the case that individuals who experience high levels of anxiety are also the most focused and effective at executing tasks – especially when they find themselves under pressure!
Were you an early reader?
A study of 2,000 pairs of identical twins in the UK found that despite their identical genes, the twin who started reading earlier achieved higher IQ scores (both verbal and nonverbal) than their siblings.
Of course the natural inclination is to believe that the kids who learned to read early did so because they were smarter to begin with, but nothing could be further from the truth. Learning to read early actually did have a developmental impact – in the long run, it really did make those kids smarter.
Did you take music lessons as a child?
There are a large number of studies that have been carried out which prove beyond any and all doubt that musical training enhances verbal intelligence and executive function, a skill that’s crucial to focus and self-control.
Having said that, the popular myth that listening to Mozart improves intelligence is simply not true, but… listening to Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Schubert, Schumann, Wagner, Mahler, Bruckner, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Frankie Goes to Hollywood and so on, does improve intelligence. Why? Because appreciating the meaning, the politics and the history behind the music makes you more intelligent. That, and the learned ability to recognise patterns.
Also, playing in orchestras and bands means that children learn to become part of a finely tuned (pardon the pun) ensemble. Making music together promotes ideas of co-operation and working together toward a common goal, as well as discipline and responsibility.
Do you have a good sense of humour?
Some of the world’s finest commedians have very high IQ scores. This is because they are able to see and make connections between otherwise seemingly unrelated subjects. From the genius political comedy of Lenny Bruce to the observational humour of Michael MacIntyre, the world’s best comics achieve high scores in both verbal intelligence and abstract reasoning, not to mention the ability to engage in witty repartee. All these skills are the result of very sharp minds!
So intelligence is not always self-evident – not everyone is as smart as they pretend to be, while some are actually smarter than they thought they were.
Are you left-handed?
Many years ago, when the rules of conformity were rigidly enforced, left-handed children were forced to learn to write with their right hands. Today, in more enlightened times, it turns out that may have been a mistake. While there is a small and as yet unexplained correlation between being left-handed and engaging in criminal activity, there are some very definite benefits. For example – one large and therefore significant study demonstrated that left-handedness is associated with the ability to think outside the box, a trend particularly prevalent in males. It is also now considered a sign of intelligence.