Ok, smarty pants…
In a society built on competition, it’s no surprise that we’re always jockeying for intelligence position. IQ tests and quiz games and Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader? on television. People want to be smarter, and more beautiful and more successful than the average Joe. Well, not THIS Joe, I’m not competing with you. But back to intelligence…scientists have been studying the question of intelligence for decades and have some pretty interesting research to share.
According to an MSN report, here are 9 science-backed signs that you may be smarter than the average
1. You’re a non-smoker
Ok, besides the obvious fact that not shoving a death stick between your lips is the smarter choice, researchers have some hard data to present concerning IQs. In a 2010 study of 20,000 men, the average IQ of men between 18 and 21 who smoked was 94. The non-smoker had an IQ of 101. Those who smoked more than a pack a day dropped 4 points – an average IQ of 90. Furthermore, in sets of siblings, the non-smoking sibling had a higher IQ of the smoker.
2. You took music lessons
Studies believe that music helps develop young minds. A 2011 study found that the verbal intelligence of 4 to 6 year olds rose after only one month of music lessons. Another study found that 6-year-olds who took at least 9 months of piano lessons saw an IQ boost over those who had no lessons. Most recently, in a 2013 study, researchers found that those kids who demonstrated the most drive and initiative were most likely to take music lessons. What’s that? Is that the sound of a parental stampede all rushing to sign their kids up for band camp?
3. You’re the oldest child
Science says that the oldest child is usually the smartest. I concur. Now, it’s not because of genetics. According to a New York Times report, “The new findings, from a landmark study published [in June 2007], showed that eldest children had a slight but significant edge in IQ — an average of three points over the closest sibling. And it found that the difference was not because of biological factors but the psychological interplay of parents and children.”
4. You’re thin
A healthy body is linked to a healthy mind. A 2006 study, conducted over a 5-year period, found that the larger the waistline, the lower the cognitive ability. Researchers looked specifically at Body Mass Index and found that those with a BMI of 20 or less performed significantly better than those above that number. And on cases of obesity, with a BMI of 30 or more, the cognitive drop was even more pronounced – and even more so after a retest five years later.
5. You have a cat
I’m serious. A 2014 study (yes, this was an actual study. There are apparently studies for everything) found that “dog people” are more socially outgoing while “cat people” performed better on intelligence tests.
“It makes sense that a dog person is going to be more lively, because they’re going to want to be out there, outside, talking to people, bringing their dog,” lead researcher Denise Guastello said. “Whereas, if you’re more introverted, and sensitive, maybe you’re more at home reading a book, and your cat doesn’t need to go outside for a walk.”
6. You had mother’s milk
Studies show that there’s something to be said as far as breast milk and intelligence. “In two studies of breast-fed infants involving more than 3,000 children in Britain and New Zealand, breastfeeding was found to raise intelligence an average of nearly seven IQ points if the children had a particular version of a gene called FADS2,” Duke University reported. Why? Well…
That gene version is “involved in the control of fatty acid pathways,” said researcher and University of Illinois-Chicago psychologist, Julia Kim-Cohen, adding that it “may help the children make better use of the breast milk and promote the brain development that is associated with a higher IQ score.”
7. You get high
Wait…what? Researchers are serious. They report that they have found a link between high childhood IQ and the use of recreational drugs (like marijuana) as an adult. They conclude that “in contrast to most studies on the association between childhood IQ and later health,” their findings suggest “a high childhood IQ may prompt the adoption of behaviors that are potentially harmful to health (i.e., excess alcohol consumption and drug use) in adulthood.” While it’s becoming overwhelmingly apparent that cannabis has a slew of health benefits (especially as far as our brains are concerned), other drugs, and even alcohol cannot claim the same positive effect.
8. You’re left-handed
Research claims that left-handers express much more “divergent thinking” – able to come up with creative and novel ideas from basic prompts. New Yorker reporter, Maria Konnikova, in a 1995 review said, “The more marked the left-handed preference in a group of males, the better they were at tests of divergent thought. Left-handers were more adept, for instance, at combining two common objects in novel ways to form a third — for example, using a pole and a tin can to make a birdhouse. They also excelled at grouping lists of words into as many alternate categories as possible.”
9. You’re tall
Researchers say that yes, size matters. The taller you are, the more likely you are to have an IQ edge. A Princeton study notes “As early as age 3 — before schooling has had a chance to play a role — and throughout childhood, taller children perform significantly better on cognitive tests.”