Intelligent People Are Guilty of These 3 Bad Habits

July 7th 2017

Almie Rose

If you failed to learn your parents' lessons about going to bed early, tidying your room, and minding your language, don't give up on yourself. You just might be a genius.

OK, maybe not a genius, per se, but some of the qualities we associate with bad behavior are also traits among people with higher intelligence.

Here are three common bad habits that smart people share:

1. Don't go to bed early? It's fine, you're probably too smart for that.

Satoshi Kanazawa, an evolutionary psychologist, wrote for Psychology Today in 2010 that more intelligent people share the common trait of staying up late. "Net of a large number of social and demographic factors, more intelligent children grow up to be more nocturnal as adults than less intelligent children," Kanazawa wrote, citing his study, "Why night owls are more intelligent."

"Compared to their less intelligent counterparts, more intelligent individuals go to bed later on weeknights (when they have to get up at a certain time the next day) and on weekends (when they don’t), and they wake up later on weekdays (but not on weekends, for which the positive effect of childhood intelligence on adult nocturnality is not statistically significant)."

And night owls are likely more creative, too, as ATTN: reported in 2015: "[A] study from researchers at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Milan found that people who stay up late are more likely to find alternative solutions to a problem compared to their early-morning risers."

As lead author of the study, Professor Marina Giampietro explained, "being in a situation which diverges from conventional habit, nocturnal types often experience this situation, may encourage the development of a non-conventional spirit and of the ability to find alternative and original solutions." 

Ben Franklin was known to quote the proverb "early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy wealthy and wise," but Ben Franklin was messy AF–which is our next trait.

2. Got a messy room? You're golden!

"[Ben] Franklin was a messy fellow his entire life," Financial Times reported in 2016, "despite 60 years of trying to reform himself, and remained convinced that if only he could learn to tidy up, he would become a more successful and productive person."

But Franklin may have thrived because of his messiness and disorganization, not in spite of it.

The Independent reported in 2016 on a study by University of Minnesota that shows links between genius with untidiness. Why? According to Psychological scientist Kathleen Vohs, who conducted the study, "disorderly environments seem to inspire breaking free of tradition, which can produce fresh insights. Orderly environments, in contrast, encourage convention and playing it safe."

3. If your response to the above is "fuck that," give yourself a pat on the back, because swearing is also associated with higher intelligence.

A study by researchers at Marist College and the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts busted the idea that people curse because they lack a wide vocabulary, and thus, aren't smart and shit.

As ATTN: previously reported in 2015, the study went down like this:

"First, a group of 43 participants between 18 and 22 years old were asked to come up with as many expletives as they could think of in 60 seconds; then they had do the same thing with animal names, which the researchers used as an indicator of overall verbal intelligence. In the second experiment, a second group of 49 people was asked to write out all the obscenities and animal names they could, starting with the letter 'a.'"

And here are the sweet-ass results:

"The results were impressive: the participants generated more than 530 "taboo words," defying stereotypes that people who curse are less intelligent. As it happens, larger vulgar vocabularies were associated with better verbal fluency overall."

Hold up though, there is one exception, as the study notes (emphasis mine): "Overall the findings suggest that, with the exception of female-sex-related slurs, taboo expressives and general pejoratives comprise the core of the category of taboo words while slurs tend to occupy the periphery, and the ability to generate taboo language is not an index of overall language poverty."

Meaning, those who drop curse words into their every day conversation are fine; if you're purposefully calling women by derogatory slurs, that doesn't make you smart.

So if you've been known to drop a swear or two, can't fall asleep before midnight, and never make your bed, don't feel bad. Clean up after yourself at work though, no one cares how smart you are, you can't just leave your dishes in the sink.