The Signs That You’re Smarter Than Average Will Surprise You

Everyone wants to believe they’re intelligent … but what if you had scientific research beyond your IQ to back it up?

While your occupation, IQ score, and alma mater may be a good indication of your intellect, there are some other, unlikely signals of how smart you really are. These are the signs you’re above-average intelligence.

You’re musically inclined

Woman setting the music playlist on her phone.

Your taste in music says a lot about your intelligence. | Kikovic/iStock/Getty Images

Beethoven, Bach, and many modern day artists are proof that musical geniuses are also highly intelligent. Did you know that your musical prowess could indicate that you’re smarter than average, as well?

Lutz Jäncke, Ph.D. supports regularly playing a musical instrument. It’s proven the ability to change the anatomy of the brain and improve cognitive brain functions. A Boston Children’s Hospital Study used functional MRI brain imaging and found a possible link between musical training and improved executive brain function. Executive functioning is a stronger predictor of academic achievement than IQ, which indicates that your musical talents may be a sign of your intelligence.

You’re left-handed

A left-handed person cuts out construction paper.

This unique sign might prove you’re smarter than others. | Diarmid Courreges/AFP/Getty Images

The years of spiral notebook stabbing, ink stains, and awkward elbow-bumping dinners have finally paid off! The almighty Dr. Oz told Oprah that left-handed people are better able to readily use both sides of their brain and therefore may be more intelligent than their right-handed peers.

“Left-handed people can deal with more incoming information that doesn’t come in an organized way.” Dr. Oz says, ” … and there are a lot of folks who, because they can deal with a lot of complicated issues at once, work pretty effectively.”

You’re the oldest child

Two siblings talking together on a couch.

The reason you always thought you were smarter than your younger sibling. | AntonioGuillem/iStock/Getty Images

Your older sibling may really know best. The New York Times reviewed a study that found the eldest children had a slightly higher IQ than their younger siblings by an average of three points.

This is attributed, surprisingly, to the interactions between parents and their first-born rather than biological factors. The perceived role a child holds in the family is an influence. The benefits the older child receives by teaching their younger siblings plays an important part, as well. Dr. Robert Zajonc, a Stanford University psychologist, confirmed that, “Explaining something to a younger sibling solidifies your knowledge and allows you to grow more extensively.”

You’re an atheist

Man and dog sitting together on the beach at sunset.

You might not be a religious person. | Anyaberkut/iStock/Getty Images

A meta-analysis done by University of Rochester researcher Miron Zuckerberg focused on the correlation between intelligence and religiosity. He found some interesting results about atheism.

“Most extant explanations [of a negative relation] share one central theme  — the premise that religious beliefs are irrational, not anchored in science, not testable and, therefore, unappealing to intelligent people who ‘know better,’” wrote Zuckerberg in his published analysis.

You drink alcohol regularly

A glass of red wine on a table with cheese and bread.

Your brains tell you to regularly have a glass of red. | Derkien/iStock/Getty Images

Satoshi Kanazawa’s study on the relation between intelligence and substance misuse found that highly intelligent individuals may be more likely to adopt evolutionarily novel values. Evolutionary novel values are things that humans aren’t biologically designed to consume — such as alcohol.

The study came to the conclusion that children of above-average intelligence in the U.K. and the U.S. grow up to consume alcohol more often and in greater amounts than less intelligent children.

You’ve engaged in recreational drug use

People dancing at the beach with hands up.

According to research, intelligent people might be open to trying drugs. | FS-Stock/iStock/Getty Images

Studies have found that a high childhood IQ has been linked to higher drug use as an adult. One study in particular conducted in the U.K. found that intelligent children are more likely to grow up to consume psychoactive drugs than their less intelligent peers.

The researchers were surprised and expressed that the study’s findings opposed their hypotheses. Their best guess? “People with high IQs are more likely to score high on personality scales of openness to experience,” James White, lead author on the study, told Time. “They may be more willing to experiment and seek out novel experiences.”

You were an early reader

A man looks for a book in a warehouse or library.

Good news for those who always had their nose in a book. | Matt Cardy/Getty Images

British researchers conducted a study on nearly 2,000 identical twins. They analyzed their reading habits and found that the twin who learned to read first generally had a higher score on cognitive ability tests. The researchers concluded that learning to read early had a developmental impact on the kids and made them smarter.

They came to the conclusion that improvements in reading ability may correlate with improvements in verbal and nonverbal cognitive ability.