20 Behaviors and Traits That Are Dead Giveaways of Having Low Intelligence

Speaking loudly, being overly confident, or even gossiping can all be signs of someone having low intelligence. However, by recognizing these markers, people can become more proactive in addressing their limitations and weaknesses, eventually improving their overall mental and emotional capacity. After all, understanding the subtle cues that point to areas you need to improve on and nurture is essential for personal growth. Read on and learn more about the top 20 dead giveaways of low intelligence!

They Are Overly Confident—Even When Holding Incorrect Information

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Unfortunately, people tend to overestimate their abilities, especially when it comes to something they aren’t good at. Thinking is Power explains that this can be concretized through the Dunning-Kruger effect, which shows that “the skills and knowledge required to be competent at a task are the same skills needed to evaluate one’s competence. Or, as Dunning put it, if you’re incompetent, you can’t recognize how incompetent you are.” We are blinded by ignorance, preventing us from recognizing our limits, mistakes, and shortcomings.

They Boast About Unrealistic and Unfounded Achievements

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People who aren’t that smart typically boast about getting high scores on these tests, but one should remember that these aren’t scientifically proven to be accurate. Most of the time, online IQ tests are only gimmicks websites use to gain more traffic and ad views.

They Resort to Name-Calling During an Argument

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People who are actually smart know how to defend themselves using evidence, rationality, and correct judgment. So, when you name-call someone during an argument, you show signs that you don’t have any claims to back your opinion or stance. Aside from this, name-calling is generally seen as a marker for someone having low emotional intelligence and emotional maturity.

They Cannot Accept That They Were Wrong About Something

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An intelligent response to being called out for a mistake is to accept it and learn more about the topic at hand. So, acting oppositely is a sign of someone having low intelligence. People who aren’t smart, after all, usually overestimate their capabilities, and because of this, they find it hard to accept that they were mistaken about something and are being corrected by someone else.

They Lack Self-Awareness

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The lack of self-awareness can be traced back to the Dunning-Kruger effect because it involves someone not realizing their limits and competence. Aside from this, INSEAD Knowledge notes, “Truly ignorant individuals exhibit a lack of introspection and stubbornly cling to their opinions, regardless of how irrational they may be. These people demonstrate unwavering self-assurance and are often completely oblivious to their own inadequacies.”

They Claim to Be Superior to Others

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Every person wants to believe that they are great, intelligent individuals. However, claiming to be superior to others usually shows when someone isn’t as bright as they seem. They tend to be unaware of anything but themselves because they lack self-awareness, eventually making them believe they’re better than everyone else.

They Are Reluctant to Learn

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Knowledgeable people believe that learning never stops. In fact, most pursue higher education to gain more knowledge and share more wisdom with others; they even learn from their and others’ mistakes! However, it’s the complete opposite for stupid people. Robert Noens, an attorney at The Stoddard Firm, wrote an article on Georgia State College of Law, saying, “Geniuses learn from other’s mistakes, smart people learn from their own mistakes, and stupid people never learn.”

They Are Constantly Asserting Their Intelligence

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People who aren’t that intelligent tend to want and need more validation from others. So, for them to get what they need, they usually assert their intelligence whenever they can. However, true intelligence doesn’t need others’ validation; it’ll just shine through without a prompt or a push.

They Are Gullible and Vulnerable to Exploitation and Crooks

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Intelligent people aren’t only great inside the classroom or at work; they can be street-smart, too! They can assess whether someone is innocent or being conned. Unfortunately, people with lower intelligence are seen as easy-to-manipulate targets, making them more susceptible to scams and crooks.

They Find It Difficult to Apply Certain Concepts Across Different Contexts

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Being smart doesn’t only mean memorizing a concept or a word’s definition. To be considered intelligent, you must be able to apply what you’ve learned in the classroom to the outside world. Failing to apply the lessons you’ve learned over the years to real-life scenarios may indicate a lack of adaptability and problem-solving capabilities.

They Disregard Others’ Opinions Completely

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To make up for their shortcomings, people with low intelligence tend to project that they know anything and everything there is to know. When this happens, they become so closed off in their own bubble that they disregard others’ opinions completely. However, remember that true intelligence manifests in listening, comprehending, and applying different thoughts, opinions, and knowledge to every aspect of life.

They Can Be Too Absorbing of Others’ Opinions

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Though some people with low intelligence disregard others’ opinions, some may be the opposite. They can be too open and absorbing of others’ views—to the point that the truths and facts become obscured. These people will then become more vulnerable to scams and crooks.

They See the World in Black and White

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Intelligence is characterized mainly by a person’s ability to adapt and be flexible. When faced with a problem, intelligent people can adjust their plans and truly showcase their problem-solving skills. On the flip side, those with low intelligence only see black and white—wrong or right, right or left, up or down; they can’t adjust quickly to change. The Illinois News Bureau quoted Aron Barbey, a psychology professor at the University of Illinois, saying, “Although researchers have known that flexibility is an important characteristic of human brain function, only recently has the idea emerged that flexibility provides the basis for human intelligence.”

They Have Low Listening Ability

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People with low intelligence tend to speak loudly to distract others from their incompetencies. When this happens, they inevitably become bad listeners. Their loud talking blocks out what others are trying to tell them, making them unaware of people’s sides of a story or issue.

They Speak and Act Without Thinking

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People with low intelligence often have a narrow perspective on the world. They see only themselves and fail to reflect on the effects they and their actions have on others. Therefore, they tend to speak or act without considering the consequences.

They Add Qualifiers to Every Sentence

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People with low intelligence want to appear smart, so they typically put themselves out there and give a lot of opinions or suggestions. However, at the same time, they don’t want to appear stupid if one of their suggestions turns out to be the wrong one. So, to avoid embarrassment, they tend to add qualifiers to their sentences, which ultimately makes the sentence weak or the speaker more indecisive. Some examples are: “I’m not sure if this is right,” or, “Maybe I’m wrong.”

They Enjoy Gossiping

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Gossiping seems normal nowadays. However, if you’re prone to gossip, you better watch out. Global English Editing says, “Gossip might seem like harmless chatter, but it’s often a sign of low emotional intelligence. People with high emotional intelligence tend to focus on ideas and constructive conversations rather than discussing other people’s lives in their absence.”

They Criticize and Blame Others for Their Mistakes

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Another sign of low emotional intelligence is blaming others for their mistakes. As the Dunning-Kruger effect dictates, people with low intelligence cannot see where they fall short. They think they’re the best and cannot understand that they made a mistake or cannot do something. Given this, people who aren’t that intelligent, especially those with a low emotional quotient, will never hold themselves accountable for their wrongdoings.

They Have Deep Insecurities and Low Self-Esteem

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One of the main reasons people with low intelligence resort to boasting about their achievements is their deep-seated insecurities. They fear making mistakes and being judged, so they try to project an air of confidence or arrogance to make people think they are smarter than they are. These insecurities, however, will eventually lead to low self-esteem.

They Confuse Argument With Discussion

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Highly intelligent individuals are able to discern whether the conversation they’re having with others is something constructive or something to learn from or if they’re just heated arguments. People with low intelligence are unable to do this because they have inherently low self-esteem or confidence. Once someone corrects them or points out possible mistakes, they see it as a direct and personal attack.

Author: Stanislav Lem


Stanislav Lem is the founder of Big Time Living, where he provides tips for gardening, traveling and lifestyle. Stan is an entrepreneur, journalist and traveler.
His mission is to provide information to help people become better planters, travel more and live a happy life. His blog has been featured on Huffpost, Yahoo and MSN.