Highly Intelligent People Have These 7 Traits — Here's How To Tell If You're One Of Them

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You don't really need to have a high IQ in order to be considered a highly intelligent person. In fact, there's a lot more to being smart than knowing a bunch of facts or being good at science and math. According to experts, many highly intelligent people don't even realize how intelligent they really are.

"A highly intelligent person is one who is flexible in their thinking and can adapt to changes, they think before they speak or act, and they're able to effectively manage their emotions.," Dr. Catherine Jackson, licensed clinical psychologist and board certified neurotherapist, tells Bustle. "In short, they possess several different types of intelligence, including but not limited to intellectual, social, and emotional intelligence."

Researchers have looked into the many different traits highly intelligent people have in common. For instance, a 2016 study published in the British Journal of Psychology, found that highly intelligent people actually prefer to be alone. It was found that smarter people tend to experience lower life satisfaction the more often they socialize with friends. According to evolutionary psychology, people evolved to be intelligent in order to solve problems. So those who are happier being alone were seen as highly intelligent because they have the ability to solve problems on their own without needing any help.

Rest assured, if you're a social butterfly, it doesn't mean that you're not smart. You may possess other qualities that show off your intelligence, like having the ability to easily connect with others.

According to Jackson, highly intelligent people don't often think of themselves like that. So here are some signs you're highly intelligent, even if you don't feel like it.

1. You're Empathetic And Compassionate

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"There's a correlation between high emotional intelligence and high IQ in psychological assessments," Christine Scott-Hudson, licensed psychotherapist and owner of Create Your Life Studio, tells Bustle. "We know that the higher a person scores in traits of empathy, the higher the person will score in traits of effective verbal comprehension." In other words, empathy, which is part of emotional intelligence, and comprehension, which is part of cognitive intelligence, is directly linked. So if you lead with your heart, Scott-Hudson says, there's a good chance that you also lead with your mind.

2. You're Curious About The World

It's easy to assume that highly intelligent people like to read. But being smart is not about having the ability to go through a number of books a day. It's about having a curiosity about anything and everything. "Intelligent people engage their passions and ask questions like who, what, when, where, how, why, and what if," Scott-Hudson says. They like learning about other people, cultures, animals, history, and the world at large. While having a love of reading isn't necessarily a sign of intelligence, it does show that you like learning and you're curious.

3. You're Observant

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"In a world where people talk to prove who they are, highly intelligent people are the opposite," Jackson says. Instead of boasting about their accomplishments or telling people how right their opinions are, they're usually quiet and observant. When you have the ability to take everything in, you can see things that others missed like subtle patterns.

4. You Have Self-Control

Having self-control means you have maturity. You know how to control your emotions and impulses so they won't cause any harm. According to Jackson, having self-control is a sign of intelligence because it means you're more likely to think before you speak or act. "When [these people] experience discomfort in their lives, they also work to solve the issue and reduce the discomfort quickly," she says.

5. You Have A Good Working Memory

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"A good working memory and general intelligence is highly correlated," Jackson says. When you have a good working memory, this means you have executive functioning skills, good short-term memory, the ability to focus and pay attention. It also means you have cognitive flexibility, and can easily transition from one thing to another.

6. You Recognize Your Limits

Highly intelligent people don't try to act as if they know everything. In fact, a sign of intelligence is recognizing the fact that you don't know everything. "If they can't do something they don't try and act as if they can," Jackson says. "Instead they know their limits and can admit it. This allows them to be open to learning more from others and/or situations."

7. You Like To Go With The Flow

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If you know how to be flexible and go with the flow, there's a good chance you're highly intelligent. "Rather than being rigid about what must happen, they remain mentally flexible, open minded and can easily adjust to life, no matter what gets throw their ways," Jackson says. It basically shows that you can solve problems and find solutions quickly.

As you can see, it's not all about being book-smart. Being empathetic, compassionate, and curious are all signs of intelligence. So if you notice any of these traits in yourself, you just may be a highly intelligent person.