17 Signs Someone Has a High IQ

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By Darryl Henderson

Intelligence is far from linear, determined by a wealth of factors extending beyond academic prowess and supposed good grades. However, despite the complexities of intelligence, there are a few telltale signs that people with high IQs tend to possess. Here are 17 of them.

They Are Prone to Daydreaming

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Those who possess a high IQ are prone to regular daydreaming because of an abundance of brain capacity, research highlighted by The Independent suggests. Daydreaming has long been considered a negative trait, when in actual fact, it’s a result of the brain processing things at a greater speed than usual.

Sleeping Late

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The early bird may catch the worm, but they’re not intellectually better off as a result. A 2009 study that took place in the USA found that naturally ‘bright’ adolescents would go to bed after midnight, whereas adolescents with lower IQs would sleep considerably earlier.

Appreciation of Dark Humor

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Studies over the past decade have shown that those with a tendency to laugh at or enjoy dark humor are more likely to have a higher IQ. One test that took place in Vienna linked the appreciation of dark humor and high IQ levels to a lower level of aggression, according to The Guardian.

Persistent Worrying

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The supposedly more intelligent people are known worriers, with this trait thought to have originated from ancient human behavior. Those who were more on edge and anxious were more alert and aware of the danger, giving them a far greater survival instinct.

They Have Larger Pupils

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One of the physical signs of an above-average IQ is that pupils will appear bigger due to the speed at which the brain is working. The faster your brain calculates and processes, the further the pupils widen to a point that is visible to the naked eye.

They are Empathetic

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Empathy and being attuned to the feelings of others is one of the key signs of a high IQ, according to Business Insider. Emotional intelligence should be taken just as seriously as academic intelligence when it comes to determining somebody’s mental capabilities.

They Are Trusting

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People with higher IQs have often been considered better judges of character than those with lower IQs, which, in turn, tends to make them more trusting of others. There is less of a need to be wary of somebody when you can recognize that they’re well-meaning.

Less Aggressive

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Aggression is seldom part of an intelligent person’s psychological makeup, as they find other, less destructive means of releasing their inner tensions. According to a study by Cambridge University, the prevalence of violence perpetration decreased linearly with increasing IQ.

They Are Full of Ideas

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Those with higher IQs are not afraid to disregard traditional ways of thinking, opening themselves up to new ideas and new ways of doing things. These people are often trying to push boundaries to make things more efficient.


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Curiosity is one of the main traits of those with higher IQs, as they are not afraid to ask questions and gather more information on a topic. One of the greatest advocates of curiosity was Albert Einstein, who regarded himself as “passionately curious.”

Happy to be Alone

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It’s often the case that people with higher IQs don’t get nearly as much satisfaction from spending time socializing with friends as their less gifted counterparts. They are fine with the idea of spending time alone with their thoughts and ideas.

They Have Good Rhythm

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One of the lesser-known signs of a higher-than-average IQ is the ability to keep rhythmic time accurately. This doesn’t necessarily mean the person has musical tendencies, but it does mean that they can tap a rhythm in time with a song.

Prone to Mental Illness

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For a long time, scientists have been linking people’s tendencies to succumb to mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety with their intelligence levels. Overall, there is a higher likelihood that people with higher IQs will be at greater risk of mental illness.

They Don’t Take Financial Risks

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Intelligent people are more willing to save up their money before making investments rather than rushing in and later regretting it. This school of thought can be applied to other forms of risk, such as a reluctance to put themselves at risk of physical harm.


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Highly intelligent minds don’t need to spend every waking hour stimulating their brain, instead preferring to sit and think. This can prove beneficial in the long term, resulting in those with higher IQs making more balanced, well-thought-out decisions.


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People with higher IQs tend to overcome temptation and impulsiveness by planning and exploring different strategies to address the issue at hand. This ability gives them the ability to work towards difficult-to-attain long-term goals that have larger payoffs than short-term, easier options.

Good Team Players

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If you’re getting a team together, the chances are, you’ll want to fill it with more intelligent people. Those with higher IQs tend to be more cooperative and supportive towards teammates and colleagues, helping to include a wider array of ideas when working on a team project.