Habits Proving You're a Genius

There are lots of habits people have that may indicate that they are much smarter than other people. Here are some habits of genius people!


If you’ve ever taken an IQ test then you probably have some idea of how smart you are, but scientific research projects suggest there might be some more surprising tell-tale signs of intelligence. Here are some habits that might just indicate you’re a genius.


It might surprise you to know that swearing isn’t a sign of low intelligence or poor education like your parents and teachers would have you believe.

In new research, linguistics and cursing expert Timothy Jay PhD asked over 200 college students aged 18-22 to list words for three categories: standard vocabulary, animal words and swear words. The results indicated that swear word fluency positively correlated with overall verbal fluency, meaning that those who could use more ‘taboo’ words also had a larger vocabulary.

swearing by sms message

Furthermore, Jay hypothesized that knowing how and when to use these words correctly is a positive marker of emotional intelligence, undermining the common belief that swearing is just a way for lazy people to fill in gaps in sentences. Understanding their expressive nature and nuanced distinctions actually indicates a more competent linguistic skill. Basically, it’s not just when you swear, it’s how you swear.

Taking Cold Showers

We’ve all heard that having the courage to turn the shower dial down in the morning can provide your body with a much-needed boost, but there’s actually some science behind the benefits of braving the cold.

Authors of one study in Finland, where winter swimming is common, noted that an adaption to cold water temperatures was associated with a significant decrease in tension and fatigue and an improved mood and memory.

3. Insensitivity to Cold

Historically, some of the world’s smartest minds like Benjamin Franklin and Theodore Roosevelt were partial to a chilly dip, while the ancient Greek intellectual Hippocrates also believed that water therapy "allays lassitude", meaning it diminishes mental weakness. This is because dunking your body in cold water refreshes the brain and vital organs by bathing them in fresh blood, so if you’re a cold shower lover you might already have the edge.


It’s easy to find ourselves picking up the nearest pen and doodling mindlessly on a page while taking a phone call, but could this unconscious habit have a deeper meaning? According to Sunni Brown, the author of The Doodle Revolution, doodling can be perceived as a thinking tool that can positively affect the processing of information and general problem-solving.

Scribble smart Pen art drawing multi color

In a UK study from 2010, 40 participants monitored a mock telephone call detailing the names of people going to a party, and half were asked to shade in shapes on a page while doing it. Afterward, those who spent their time doodling while listening could recall 29% more information than the people who were more traditionally focused.

This is because what we perceive as mindless scribbling is actually a visual way for our brain to express concepts and emotions while still unconsciously working in the background.

Running Late

Turning up late to important events is hardly a good way to make a first impression, and although it seems like the most intelligent people should be organized enough to plan ahead and avoid lateness research actually suggests the opposite. According to time management expert Diana DeLonzor, most late people tend to be generally optimistic and unrealistic, which negatively impacts their perception of time.

This ‘B-type personality’ means late people think they can fit way more into each hour than is usually possible, which results in them failing to achieve the impossible. This may not seem like a positive attribute, but researchers have also linked this inexact sense of time to a tendency to perform well at home and in the office by multitasking more successfully.

These positive traits can therefore lead to more successful personal and professional lives, but nonetheless, perpetual lateness is still a double-edged sword.


We’ve all met someone whose preferred method of communication is constant sarcasm, but as it turns out this could actually be a sign of high intelligence. Whether you love or hate it, sarcasm requires a certain amount of wit, which has been directly linked to increased creativity possessed by the smartest among us.

Using sarcasm encourages us to use abstract thinking to read between the lines and decode the hidden meaning behind words by making creative connections. As a sarcastic conversation requires more thought than a sincere one, it opens up parts of our minds that we don’t typically use, allowing us to think outside the box.

Next time someone gets a little too sarcastic, try to cool off and remember that they’re just giving your brain an extra workout.


If your bedroom or work desk is a sight for sore eyes then you should probably know that general messiness has also been linked to those with a higher IQ. A study from the University of Minnesota in 2013 found that although physical order produces healthy choices, generosity, and conventionality, disordered environments are more successful at encouraging creativity.

dirty house

In the experiment, two groups were asked to come up with alternative uses for ping-pong balls in clean and untidy environments, and the group in the messier room came out on top. Study author Kathleen Vohs Ph.D concluded that disorderly environments seem to inspire breaking free of tradition, which can produce fresh insights, whereas orderly environments encourage convention and playing it safe.

Intelligent people who possess more creativity also generally get lost in thought while focusing on one problem and fail to prioritize tidiness until after it’s solved.

Noise Sensitivity

If your tolerance for irritating outside noise like overly loud chewing is so low that you can’t focus then don’t worry, you’re not just sensitive. 20% of the world’s population reportedly suffer from a strong aversion to certain sounds known as misophonia which has now been linked to high intelligence.

Noise Sensitivity blocking ears with fingers noisy

A psychological study from Northwestern University in 2015 found that creative brains have a harder time filtering out unnecessary sensory stimulation to focus on the task at hand. This phenomenon is called ‘leaky sensory gating’ which means that a negative neurological response to excess noise will make it difficult to just ignore.

This is because more creative people tend to pay attention to a wide range of stimuli in their environment to give their experiences and ideas more subtlety, which also means a lower ability to block irrelevant noise from consciousness.

Talking to Yourself

For some, the act of talking out loud when no one’s around seems absurd, but for those who do, this intriguing habit could now be a sign of smarter thinking. During a study from Bangor University in 2017 participants were given written instructions and told to read them aloud or silently, and researchers concluded that those who read aloud were more concentrated and absorbed in thought.

Dr. Paloma Mari-Beffa explained that auditory commands are far better controllers than written ones, and that “the stereotype of the mad scientist talking to themselves might reflect the reality of a genius who uses all the means at their disposal to increase their brain power”.

This was repeated in another study testing people’s ability to recall objects which found that verbalising had a positive correlation with cognitive processing. It turns out that mumbling away to yourself is totally normal – even Einstein famously used to repeat his lines aloud.

Being a Loner

There’s nothing wrong with preferring your own company, and studies suggest that those who consider themselves loners are generally pretty smart. Researchers in England and Singapore asked over 15,000 people between the ages of 18-28 to take an IQ test followed by a survey which discovered that those considered highly intelligent were happier with less social time.

Evolutionary psychology was used to explain this result by referring back to our hunter-gatherer ancestors who required frequent contact with friends and family to ensure survival. Meanwhile, highly intelligent people were able to solve challenges without outside help, which diminished the benefits of friendship.

Habits Proving You're a Geniu

Neolithic villages typically consisted of a close-knit group of around 150 who were all mutually valued, but nowadays higher population density means more frequent but meaningless social interaction. In a broad sense, ‘highly intelligent’ people are therefore equipped to act self-sufficiently while remaining focused on some other long-term objective outside of socialization.


Initially, the concept of mind-wandering was thought to negatively affect brain performance, but new research suggests otherwise. A study from the University of California found that when given a demanding mental task participants who took a break of around 12 minutes performed better overall.

This so-called incubation period was effective for boosting problem-solving and works similarly to doodling by allowing your brain to wander while working indirectly. Psychology professor Eric Schumacher has even theorized that people with more efficient brains may have too much brain capacity to stop their minds from wandering.

So next time your mind starts drifting elsewhere during math class or in a Monday morning meeting, it’s probably not such a bad thing after all.


In 1999, A study from Cornell University discovered that people generally considered themselves to be smarter and more capable than they really are. This psychological phenomenon, known as the Dunning-Kruger effect, means that low-ability people don’t possess the skills needed to recognize their own incompetence, so they overestimate their capabilities instead as a result of an illusionary superiority complex.

overestimating oneself capabilities competence

Imagine a family member ranting about a topic they clearly know nothing about, but with such confidence that they really believe what they’re saying, that’s the Dunning-Kruger effect.

Meanwhile, highly competent people tended to underestimate their own abilities and were therefore also able to recognize what they might lack and the necessary tools to improve their knowledge. This means that those who are overly critical of themselves generally possess a higher intelligence than those who act out of blind confidence.


You may think that the smartest people would maintain an organized and proactive lifestyle, but everything you thought you knew about lazing around could be totally false.

A 2016 study from Florida Gulf Coast University divided 60 students into ‘thinkers’ and ‘non-thinkers’ based on their answers to a survey about how much they enjoyed brain-focused tasks. Researchers then monitored the groups' movements for a week and found that the ‘thinkers’ spent significantly less time engaging in physical activity.

Habits Proving You're a Genius laziness lazy guy on sofa

The findings indicated that intelligent people are content with entertaining themselves mentally whereas the ‘non-thinker’ group, who generally associated mental stimulation with a negative experience – became easily bored and sought other forms of entertainment. No matter how smart, though, laziness also contributes to negative health effects, so it’s important to maintain a positive balance.

Staying Up Late

Throughout history the stereotypical image of the genius buried in their books until the early hours has existed in popular culture, but now there’s possible evidence to substantiate it.

British researchers have claimed that those who go to bed later generally have a higher IQ by referring back to evolutionary theory. As our ancestors typically went to sleep and woke up early, breaking traditional routines attracted only the most curious minds who were also intelligent enough to deal with the potential perils of venturing into the night.

Habits Proving You're a Genius

Humans possess the unique ability to override our internal biological clocks, and those who have opted for a later sleep schedule could reap the benefits of greater cognitive processing. Psychologists have also theorized that night-time is considered an effective thinking period because smarter people are generally introverted and better equipped to work without any unnecessary distractions.

Drinking Alcohol

Of the habits you’d expect geniuses to possess, increased alcohol consumption is probably not one of them. It might seem crazy, but studies have found that highly intelligent children in the UK and the US grow up to consume alcohol more frequently, with figures also showing that university-educated women were 71% more likely to drink on most days, and educated men were 49% more likely.

Almost 163,000 pints of Guinness are wasted in U.K. facial hair each year

This has been explained by the idea that the accidental discovery of alcohol is considered to be the last ‘evolutionary novelty’ in human history with alcohol production appearing as recently as 10,000 years ago.

According to evolutionary psychologist Satoshi Kanazawa, situations that didn’t occur in the Pleistocene, when humans first evolved, are harder for the brain to process, so such behaviors can be a sign of stronger intellectual capacity. Beer and champagne in moderation have also been said to benefit memory and cognitive health!

Nail Biting

The reason why so many of us resort to biting our nails in various situations has baffled behaviouralists for years, but could this unsightly habit be a sign of intelligence? Body-focused repetitive disorders like hair-pulling, skin-picking, and nail-biting have been long considered a nervous habit, but studies have now also linked them to perfectionism.

Nail Biting nailbiting nervious anxiety

In one study, researchers surveyed 48 participants prone to nail biting under different situations designed to provoke varied emotions and found that most engaged in the habit out of boredom and frustration.

This reflected a need to keep the brain occupied at all times when under-stimulated, as well as a stress-driven response which indicated a desire to strive for perfection. Perfectionists are generally goal-orientated and set themselves ambitious expectations, and such body-focused habits can provide temporary relief from such mentally taxing tasks.

I hope you were amazed at these habits proving you're a genius. Thanks for reading!

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