There are all sorts of stereotypes about highly intelligent people, many of them tied to the idea of “nerds.” What, though, if many of those stereotypes are wrong – and highly intelligent people may be more likely to be messy, stay up late, and swear profusely?
New research suggests that may be precisely the case.
Psychologists Kristin Jay of Marist College and Timothy Jay of the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts note that individuals more fluent in ‘taboo words’ were also more likely to be fluent in all sorts of other words, too – meaning that they actually had a wider vocabulary, a sign of a more intelligent person.
“A voluminous taboo lexicon may better be considered an indicator of healthy verbal abilities rather than a cover for their deficiencies,” the researchers wrote. “People who use taboo words understand their general expressive content as well as nuanced distinctions that must be drawn to use slurs appropriately. The ability to make nuanced distinctions indicates the presence of more rather than less linguistic knowledge, as implied by the POV [Poverty of Vocabulary] view.”
Another study found that more nocturnal individuals are also more likely to be highly intelligent, and a third study, courtesy the University of Minnesota, found messy work spaces can actually be a sign of intelligence. “Disorderly environments seem to inspire breaking free of tradition, which can produce fresh insights. Orderly environments, in contrast, encourage convention and playing it safe.”
All of these are traits previously associated socially with laziness or stupidity. Instead, we’re finding they’re signs of intelligence – so if they describe you, fear no more.
And if you are a potty mouth? Check out this video, which links swearing to honesty:
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