How can I identify an intelligent person? - Terkel (2023)

From surveying self control to seeking to understand perspectives, here are twenty-two answers for how to identify an intelligent person:

  • Self Control is a Highly Intelligent Quality
  • Smart People Recognize They Are Often Wrong
  • No Haste, No Waste
  • Watch How They Interact With People and Information
  • They Sometimes Talk to Themselves
  • Capability Self-awareness is a Sign
  • They’re Able to See Both Sides of An Argument
  • Intelligent Professionals Crave Growth, Novelty, Change
  • Voracious & Curious Readers Have Highly Active Brains
  • They Speak Less but They Speak Sense!
  • They’re Always Open to a Discussion
  • Emotional Balance
  • By their Ability to Accept New Information
  • Ability to Adapt to Certain Situations
  • They Tend to Ask a Lot of Questions
  • Their Ability to Hold a Conversation
  • They Provide a Different Viewpoint
  • Distinguish Different Types of Intelligence
  • People Who Talk Less and Listen More
  • It’s All in the Mindset
  • A Good Sense of Humor
  • See if their Thoughts Have Nuance.

Self Control is a Highly Intelligent Quality

Pressure situations affect everyone differently, but being able to respond appropriately and with self-control can signify a highly intelligent person. Knee-jerk reactions or sudden displays of emotion often lack a thought process, and even if they are understandable, the lack of a stopgap can cause additional problems.Having the ability to stop, assess a situation, and respond methodically rather than emotionally, is the sign of someone with high intellectual ability. Highly intelligent people still feel the emotions of a high pressure situation, but are able to initiate a control system that many do not possess. It is this attribute of high intellectual functioning and an emotional intelligence that could indicate an individual who would be excellent in a position of leadership.

Greg Gillman, Chief Revenue Officer, MuteSix

Smart People Recognize They Are Often Wrong

Intelligent people question themselves. Those people with inflated egos are often the loudest and most sure of themselves, even without data to support their claims.Intelligence comes with doubt–especially self-doubt–as these people try to see a situation from all sides and angles. If intelligent professionals lack information, they will be reluctant to confidently assert a claim.There are also thousands of ways to be wrong and often only one or two ways to be right about any given problem. Against those odds, anyone with robust critical thinking skills takes time to investigate their assumptions before defending an argument.

Guna Kakulapati, Co-Founder & CEO, CureSkin

No Haste, No Waste

Focus on more than just analytics. Intelligence isn’t all about numbers and procedures. A truly intelligent person recognizes that things beyond book smarts matter in the real world. For this reason, truly intelligent people are often amongst the most considerate when it comes to their own behavior. Intelligent people tend to keep their responses and reactions measured./ This gives them time to think and consider any information presented to them. This consideration can sometimes be mistake for inaction, especially in situations where other people might prefer to move quickly, even at a potential detriment to themselves. People who act on intelligence rather than impulse won’t be keen to be hasty. They may want to research the things they don’t know in order to make the best choices. In a sense Intelligence is something we all share, but not everyone has the mindset to act on. Those who do may be more cautious but ultimately make better choices.

Boye Fajinmi, Co-Founder & President , TheFutureParty

Watch How They Interact With People and Information

An intelligent person is one who can understand a situation and figure out what the best course of action is. They are able to adapt to changing circumstances and come up with solutions that others may not have thought of. Identifying an intelligent person can be difficult, as they may not give themselves away with verbal cues, but there are some things to look for. First, pay attention to how they interact with other people. An intelligent person will usually be able to hold an engaging conversation and keep others interested. They will also be able to pick up on cues from what other people are saying and respond accordingly. Another indicator of intelligence is how someone approaches their work or studies. An intelligent person will be able to grasp concepts quickly and be able to apply them in a practical way. They will also be able to identify areas for improvement and know when to seek additional training.

Matthew Ramirez, CEO, Rephrasely

They Sometimes Talk to Themselves

One thing many intelligent people have in common is a tendency to talk to themselves. The reasoning behind that observation is that intelligent individuals give voice to their thoughts so that their brain works better. In fact, psychologists are of one mind about this. Thinking about something aloud produces better results.

Natalia Brzezinska, Marketing & Outreach Manager, US Visa Photo

Capability Self-awareness is a Sign

Although we generally associate highly intelligent people with those who have accumulated all-consuming knowledge, one of the most significant indications of that quality is someone who recognizes when they don’t know something. Oftentimes employees or even people in management, in their effort to demonstrate their expertise in front of others, will act on ego and in doing so, damage the very reputation they are trying to protect.People of high intelligence have the self-awareness to recognize their strengths, and especially their weaknesses. This in turn, prevents them from taking action when they know they are not fully qualified to do so. It is this self-awareness that allows highly intelligent people to succeed, and may be the most significant sign of that intellectual capacity.

Matt Miller, Founder & CEO, Embroker

They’re Able to See Both Sides of An Argument

Intelligent people are characterized by the ability to see and acknowledge different perspectives. They have the empathy to see the other side of every situation, and are willing to put themselves in others’ shoes. They understand that looking at things from different perspectives actually expands their horizons and makes them more knowledgeable. Because of that, intelligent people are capable of taking opinions contrary to their own into consideration. Oftentimes, they position themselves as both sides of the arguments by talking to themselves and bouncing ideas off both perspectives to find optimal solutions.

Maja Kowalska, Community Manager, Zety

Intelligent Professionals Crave Growth, Novelty, Change

Smart professionals grow and expand themselves over time. Intelligence, by nature, wants to expand and learn. Some intelligent folks commit to learning one new thing daily while others take ambitious leaps to challenge themselves and grow through that struggle.Regardless if you are a gradual-gains fan or prefer to take riskier dramatic actions to grow yourself, being intelligent is synonymous with hungering for more.Intelligence is not comfortable in stagnation where there is little room for change. Intelligent people, instead, are open to change and discomfort because those experiences are steadfast teachers.

Kevin Miller, Founder,

Voracious & Curious Readers Have Highly Active Brains

I think anyone who truly enjoys reading regularly is intelligent. If anything, real intelligence is defined by curiosity and openness to new information.Reading books is one of the oldest strategies for growing and sharing knowledge. Even when someone reads for enjoyment–or perhaps especially then–they are flexing mental muscles that help them navigate the world, inside and out.Reading is not for everyone, and not every intelligent person is an avid reader, but curiosity and the desire to eat up information are constant indicators of active intelligence.

Jason Panzer, President, Hexclad

They Speak Less but They Speak Sense!

An intelligent person will refrain from speaking unneccessarily. The best way to identify an intelligent person is to hold a conversation with them. When in a group, they will not try to dominate the conversation but will present their views when necessary. They will never speak only for the sake of being in the spotlight. They will be articulate and on point with their talk.

Andrew Griffith, Owner, Garden Furniture.

They’re Always Open to a Discussion

The key to identifying intelligent people is to find out if their thoughts build nuanced ideas and explore different angles of something in order to understand it thoroughly. If you want to identify if someone is truly intelligent, task them with something they’re passionate about. People who are genuinely interested in learning and understanding will have no problem discussing any and every detail surrounding their topic of interest, while those who are simply trying to look smart will quickly run out of things to say.

Guy Sharp, Relocation Advisor, Andorra Guides

Emotional Balance

Intelligent ones know how to keep their emotions in balance in critical situations. Every person in this world faces hard times and deals with despised emotions and some may know how to overcome these unwanted beliefs. A person with good knowledge has a lot of emotional intelligence and knows how to develop emotional skills and handle complex emotions productively. Self-control is the greatest skill that everyone needs to have a balanced state of emotions to succeed in life, these people have it abundantly.

Brad Burnie, Founder, Starships

By their Ability to Accept New Information

In my experience, an excellent way to gauge intelligence is by evaluating a person’s ability to make space for new information. If they’re resistant or defensive when it comes to information that goes against their beliefs, they’re more likely to be averse to learning new things and adopting novel skills. That said, it’s important to consider the sensitivity of the information and ensure you’re not deciding based on something that’s potentially offensive. However, gauging the level of cognitive dissonance when it comes to accommodating new information undoubtedly remains a great way to know if someone is truly intelligent.

Asma Hafejee, Senior Marketing Executive, CMR Surgical

Ability to Adapt to Certain Situations

Intelligence is relative. It’s not an absolute quality that someone has or doesn’t have. Instead, it’s something that can vary from person to person and situation to situation. One way to identify an intelligent person is to look at their ability to adapt to new situations. People who are able to quickly understand new concepts and find new ways to solve problems are typically considered intelligent. This type of intelligence is often referred to as “fluid intelligence.” Fluid intelligence is just one aspect of intelligence, however. There is also something called “crystallized intelligence,” which refers to the accumulation of knowledge and skills over time. People with a lot of crystallized intelligence are often considered wise or sage-like because they have a lot of experience and knowledge in a particular field.

Natalia Grajcar, Co-Founder, Natu.Care

They Tend to Ask a Lot of Questions

Intelligent people are often inquisitive and want to know more about the world around them. They aren’t content with just accepting things at face value and are always looking to learn more. Asking questions is a great way to do this, and intelligent people are usually good at coming up with thought-provoking questions that can lead to interesting discussions.

Martin Seeley, CEO, Mattress Next Day

Their Ability to Hold a Conversation

Needless to say, an intelligent person is more likely to be open-minded and great at holding conversations. Because of their natural curiosity and inclination to learn, they’re more likely to be well-versed in a wide array of topics and can thus converse with people from all walks of life. If you want to evaluate someone’s intelligence, simply have a conversation with them and see how well they can keep up with the topic at hand.

Larissa Pickens, Owner, Repeat Replay

They Provide a Different Viewpoint

Intelligent people view scenarios in a different light. They have a unique way of thinking and can support it with facts. Consider asking them about their insight on specific topics and listen to what they have to say. It’s a great way to learn a new perspective from someone else, which may also influence your opinion on the topic.

Randee Machina, Director of Marketing, Simpli Pleasures

Distinguish Different Types of Intelligence

It’s important to note that there are different kinds of intelligence, and everyone has varying levels of each. For instance, someone could have a low level of logical intelligence and a high level of emotional intelligence. So, it depends on what kind of intelligence you are evaluating in a person.

Nancy Eichler, Senior Vice President of Marketing & eCommerce, iwi life

People Who Talk Less and Listen More

Most people associate intelligence with the ability to quickly and accurately answer questions. However, another trait of intelligent people is that they talk less and listen more. This indicates that they are astute observers, taking in information from their surroundings and using that knowledge to come to their own conclusions. Intelligent people are likely to ask thoughtful questions and actively listen when interacting with others rather than dominate the conversation. Listening more also allows intelligent people to pick up on subtle cues that others may miss, helping them to gain a better understanding of the world and their place in it. Ultimately, this helps them to make more informed decisions and come up with creative solutions to problems.

Burak Özdemir, Founder, Online Alarm Kur

It’s All in the Mindset

Intelligence can come in many forms. While many people think of intelligence as how book smart you are, there are plenty of other ways for it to be measured. For example, really intelligent people tend to have a growth mindset. They don’t let the little things rock their world and realize that the good and bad come and go. With this perspective, they are fully able to move forward in life and work. Other traditionally intelligent people can’t always move gracefully through tough times.

Kelli Anderson, Career Coach, Resume Seed

A Good Sense of Humor

Humor is a sign of fast thinking. And fast thinking definitely points to intelligence. That’s why a good sense of humor is what helps me identify an intelligent person.Let me elaborate on that. A good sense of humor indicates great timing and fine observation. It’s also combined with a knack for knowing how to put across thoughts in a way that appeals to others the most. Intelligence helps you detect nuance, develop observational skills, and correctly infer the inner world based on the outer, which are crucial to make other people laugh.Also, the more intelligent a person is, the more able they are to understand a broader spectrum of humor.

Agata Szczepanek, Community Manager, LiveCareer

See if their Thoughts Have Nuance.

Although very few people are naturally intelligent, many people believe they are. The key to identifying intelligent people is to see if their thoughts have nuance and that they explore different angles of something to fully understand.Ask someone about something they are passionate about to see if they are truly intelligent. People who are genuinely interested in learning and understanding will have no trouble discussing any and all aspects of their topic of interest, whereas those who are simply trying to appear intelligent will quickly run out of things to say.

Jennie Miller, Co-Founder, MIDSS

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How do highly intelligent people act? ›

Highly intelligent people are usually highly rational, even when they are also emotionally intense. They enjoy finding solutions to big problems and are aware of their deep potentials. However, they are often misunderstood. Being different, they are often scapegoated.

What is the highest form of intelligent behavior? ›

Some psychologists believe that the ability to listen to another person, to empathize with, and to understand their point of view is one of the highest forms of intelligent behavior.

What are signs of extremely low intelligence? ›

Difficulties talking or talking late. Having problems remembering things. Inability to connect actions with consequences. Difficulty with problem-solving or logical thinking.

What are the habits of intelligent? ›

They try to think from various viewpoints. They try to understand how their actions affect everyone. Feelings happen in our brains and are connected to thoughts. Intelligence is about caring about what happens in the world around you, how you fit into it.

Are intelligent people open-minded? ›

They're open-minded

Smart people don't close themselves off to new ideas or opportunities. Hammett writes that intelligent people are "willing to accept and consider other views with value and broad-mindedness," and that they are "open to alternative solutions."

What are 4 signs that you are a genius? ›

Signs of Genius in Children
  • Intense need for mental stimulation and engagement.
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What causes high intelligence? ›

Intelligence is also strongly influenced by the environment. During a child's development, factors that contribute to intelligence include their home environment and parenting, education and availability of learning resources, and healthcare and nutrition.

Are socially awkward people intelligent? ›

Research has shown that there is a high correlation between being intelligent and socially anxious. The higher your IQ, the higher the chance your social apprehension is higher than usual. Of course, that doesn't mean that your social anxiety should be classified as a disorder.

What is an extremely intelligent person? ›

A genius is a person who has very great intelligence or a rare natural ability or skill, especially in a particular area such as science or art.

How can you tell if a woman is intelligent? ›

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What is the most intelligent question to ask? ›

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Why are intelligent people so sensitive? ›

If your mind is a high spec processor, you probably learned to do with fewer filters on your sensory data that your average person. You can handle more sense data, so you sense more than average: you're sensitive. You process more, and more quickly, so you're able to sense more.

What is the rarest type of intelligence? ›

Spatial intelligence or picture smart is a quality that is perhaps the rarest of all the nine Howard Gardner categorized. Human life is big, human intelligence is even bigger.

Do intelligent people talk fast or slow? ›

Speak more slowly. According to research, you sound more intelligent if you speak relatively slowly. (Think of it as the Jeff Goldblum effect.) Speaking at a measured pace makes you seem smarter--as if your words are better thought-out (even if they aren't).

How do smart people answer questions? ›

Smart people are smart enough to know that answering that question will not make them unique. They answer questions which require analytical and critical thinking rather than just recall or memory.

How can you tell if someone is emotionally intelligent? ›

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How does low IQ person behave? ›

People of low intelligence are recognizable through their evident lack of tolerance, as they are generally indifferent to changes, diverging opinions, and are generally inflexible, easily irritated, and unable to accommodate other people.

What causes lack of intelligence? ›

The causes are numerous: hereditary factors; genetic abnormalities (e.g. Down's syndrome); poor prenatal care; infections during pregnancy; abnormal delivery; illness during infancy; toxic substances (e.g. consumption of alcohol by the pregnant mother; exposure of the child to lead, mercury or other environmental ...

What time do intelligent people sleep? ›

Psychologist Satoshi Kanazawa and Study Magazine pinpointed further by saying that individuals in their 20s with a normal IQ tended to go to sleep at around 12:10 a.m., while those with a lower IQ went to bed at 11:41 p.m. Those labeled “very bright” hit the sack at 12:29 a.m.

Do intelligent people prefer to be alone? ›

Yes, it's true: New research says that introverts could have a higher IQ. Think you're a genius? Take this Mensa quiz to find out. Generally speaking, the more often people socialize with friends, the happier they feel.

Do intelligent people have anxiety? ›

Recent research has found that those with higher intelligence may be more likely to experience worry, anxiety, and other mood disorders.

How do intelligent people speak? ›

They successfully start each of their conversations with the right tone and energy. Smart people make eye contact, they pay attention to their body language, they ask smart questions, and they give compliments. They also make you laugh, they really listen, and they tell a great story.

Why do intelligent people struggle with love? ›

Smart people know the harsh realities of life and do not like to be in an imaginary too-good-to-be-true world. Because of this, they sometimes take things too slow and have trouble committing to their partners.

How does a genius think? ›

Geniuses think productively, not reproductively

They tend to come up with many different responses, some of which are unconventional and possibly unique. Leonardo da Vinci believed that to gain deep knowledge about a problem, you have to learn how to restructure it in many different ways.

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The study's subjects ranked intelligence as more sexually attractive than other qualities like humor, kindness, and even physical appearance. The rising trend of the sapiosexual label seems to be most frequent among younger daters, often referred to as Millennials or Generation Y.

What mental illnesses are associated with high intelligence? ›

Studies have also found that higher IQ is associated with more mental illness, including depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder.

Is being intelligent genetic? ›

Researchers have previously shown that a person's IQ is highly influenced by genetic factors, and have even identified certain genes that play a role. They've also shown that performance in school has genetic factors. But it's been unclear whether the same genes that influence IQ also influence grades and test scores.

Do intelligent people have certain facial features? ›

New research debunks the belief that you can assess intelligence based on facial features. Researchers have identified more than 70 genes that affect variation in both brain and facial structure.

Are Overthinkers intelligent? ›

Many High-IQ People Tend to Be Overthinkers: They Incessantly Overanalyze Everything. There's this old Zen parable that relates how over-analysis is a common attribute of intelligent people.

Why are quiet people smart? ›

Quiet people don't blabber; they listen.

These people have the most knowledge because they're processing words instead of speaking them. Their thoughts and opinions arrive from knowledge that has been meticulously collected and curated. When you listen, you become a better decision-maker.

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Figure 7.12 Sternberg's theory identifies three types of intelligence: practical, creative, and analytical.

Do intelligent people talk to themselves? ›

According to recent study, talking to yourself indicates a higher level of intelligence. This study happens in the UK schools. There were 28 participants, each was given instructions that being told to either read out loud or quietly to themselves.

Who is most intelligent woman? ›

Marilyn vos Savant (/ˌvɒs səˈvɑːnt/; born Marilyn Mach; August 11, 1946) is an American magazine columnist who has the highest recorded intelligence quotient (IQ) in the Guinness Book of Records, a competitive category the publication has since retired.

What is an emotionally intelligent woman? ›

Emotional intelligence is the ability to accurately identify your own emotions, as well as those of others according to Psychology Today. It also includes the ability to utilize emotions and apply them to tasks, as well as manage your own emotions... while influencing the emotions of others in a positive way.

Why are intelligent people socially awkward? ›

Research has shown that there is a high correlation between being intelligent and socially anxious. The higher your IQ, the higher the chance your social apprehension is higher than usual. Of course, that doesn't mean that your social anxiety should be classified as a disorder.

What makes an intelligent face? ›

Faces that are perceived as highly intelligent are rather prolonged with a broader distance between the eyes, a larger nose, a slight upturn to the corners of the mouth, and a sharper, pointing, less rounded chin.

Are highly intelligent people sensitive? ›

In 2015, clinical psychologist Elke van Hoof did research on high sensitivity and looked at a possible link with giftedness. She discovered that 87% of gifted people are also highly sensitive.


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