My question is: "Exactly how do people sense intelligence in a person that they have just met?” It is obvious that you would have a pretty good idea of a person’s intellectual strength if you have known that person for years. You would have seen that person in a variety of situations, played games with them etc. Yet it seems to go much deeper than that. I a pretty intelligent person (not off the charts but I score well on standardized tests, made good grades, and now do well in the workplace). I have actually had women come up to me blindly in a bar a say something to the effect of “You are a smart guy, I like smart guys can we talk”. Likewise, I believe that I can sense intelligence in a person rather rapidly after meeting. It seems that it only takes a few seconds of contact to figure a rough estimate of G (General intelligence) for any given person. I have done this many times at work and I don’t think that I have ever been off by far. Does anyone have an idea how people do this? I suspect that it has something to do with eye movements or possibly specific characteristics of body language. Any thoughts?
It’s really simple - smart people aren’t afraid to act stupid, while stupid people try to act smart.
Really, though, that is an interesting question. It probably has to do with body language, or maybe pheromones. sniffs himself and gags . . . maybe not.
Well first off all I doubt that “Hey you look really dumb”, is a line that is used very often A lot of it is also just general stuff that we are conditioned to, for example no matter how fair it is, glasses usually give of an aura of inteligence, and in the same way certain clothes do(or don’t). After you start to talk to some one, their speaking paterns and vocabulary say a fair amount about their intellect. I think it is mostly a group behavior pattern thing. People hanging around a group, tend to adopt the patterns of that group, and other people tend to start associating those paterns with that group, and a sterotypical IQ level is assigned subconciously. So when They meet someone else with those paterns they assume things. I knew a kid in school who was an “underachiever”. He acted like the kids in the dumb group acted, and every body assumed he was. A few years later I met him again, he had been diagnosed with dyslexia, and treated very successfully for it in the intervening years. The first thing I noticed about him when I saw him for this second period(not recognizing him at first), was his “group uniform” of being a smart kid and assumed he was. Same person, with the same basic personality(became good friends both times), but my estimate of his IQ was based on his apperance(and his apperance was based on his estimate of his IQ) really sad, but true.(I really need to get out of the habit of using so many parenthetical asides)
How do you know your estimates are accurate? Do you give them an IQ test later? Perhaps your first impression of their intelligence simply colors your assessment; you assume an intelligence for them, and fit any later observations into your worldview.
<using big words so mavpace thinks I’m smart>
Usually just look at their eyes.
I’ll second this opinion. It’s written all over them. The expression on their face, the way they look around the room, the way they react when something happens.
I’m not sure this is directly related to IQ per se, but most of the time you can tell in an instant if someone is “with it” or not. I’ve encountered a few surprise cases, but not many.
Going for the Windows upgrade–now THERE’S an “innate intelligence test” for you.
I use a trap door with a big rope and a sign above it:
DANGER! LION PIT. DO NOT PULL ROPE.
Probably most people assess intelligence by clothing and grooming at first (can we say geek?), then by interpreting social cues. Someone who obeys conversational rules (no interrupting, no direct eye contact, etc) and responds with appropriate body language is intelligent (note that I am not saying this, it is assumed by the observer).
No matter how technically brilliant a person is they can seem really stupid if they can’t carry on a conversation. The reverse is true as well. That might also explain why people tend to treat foreigners like idiots; they’re obeying different social rules, so we can’t take them seriously on the surface.
So my instinctive reaction to grab onto the rope with both hands and pull would be bad?
Hm. Now I’m hanging in mid air over an open pit full of lions…
Anyway I do appreciate your helping me out with this.
whips out notepad and scribbles furiously
Wear clothes next time, and groom.
Don’t interrupt them, no matter how wrong they are.
Avoid direct eye contact, focus on shoes to be safe.
Engage in conversation, no matter how silly.