It's time to unlearn what you learned in your high school health class.
One of the strangest things about being human is that people of lesser intelligence tend to overestimate how smart they are and people who are highly intelligent tend to underestimate how smart they are.
This is called the Dunning-Kruger effect and it’s proven every time you log onto Facebook and see someone from high school who thinks they know more about vaccines than a doctor.
The interesting thing is that even though people are poor judges of their own smarts, we’ve evolved to be pretty good at judging the intelligence of others.
“Such findings imply that, in order to be adaptive, first impressions of personality or social characteristics should be accurate,” a study published in the journal Intelligence says. “There is accumulating evidence that this is indeed the case—at least to some extent—for traits such as intelligence extraversion, conscientiousness, openness, and narcissism, and even for characteristics such as sexual orientation, political ideology, or antigay prejudice.”
Reddit user Gisgiii posed a question to the AskReddit subforum “What is a subtle sign that someone is really intelligent?” and the answers painted a clear picture of how smart people behave. They tend to be great communicators who understand their audience and are more concerned with getting things right than being right.
Here are 18 of the best answers.
"They draw wisdom from multiple sources. Wait but that might be more wise than intelligent... But I guess those two tend to be seen together a lot," — Puzzlehead-Engineer
"They can switch up the way they talk to match the person they're talking to without sounding condescending. They listen to how others learn and explain it in that person's language of understanding," — Wynonna99
"I used to work with a doctor - Tom Howard - and the day I realized he was a genius was the time he guessed every single condition a patient of mine had based on minute pieces of information about him," — Yodei_Mon
"They are curious about everything. To be intelligent you need to be knowledgeable and you can't be knowledgeable if you are never curious," — soup54461
"When they explain something they make you feel intelligent," — gwoshmi
"They spend time thinking before asking a question," — ParkMan73
"They effortlessly communicate complex concepts in a simple way," — joculator
"They know when their knowledge ends and say something to the extent of 'i don't know and anything else i say on this topic is ignorant speculation,'" — blutoboy
"They can ask really good questions."
"Edit: to anyone not understanding what mean, I’m talking about people who ask “really good questions”, not just any questions, really good ones. I don’t know how one would achieve this skill(I know I haven’t)," — milkmanbran
"They aren’t afraid to say they don’t know the answer to a question," — xchernx
"They admit to changing their mind about something," — FarAwayAdventure
"They apply knowledge from one realm into a new and relevant situation," — soubestitch
"They can genuinely consider an idea which opposes their worldview without necessarily accepting it," — paidshill29
"People who use analogies to explain concepts to others. It’s a form of code-switching and integrating concepts on the fly and is a clear indicator someone is both socially and conceptually intelligent," — SwimmerAutomatic2488
"I think intelligent people are more willing to calmly debate/discuss, rather than argue. Like, you explain to them why you disagree, and they listen to you and ask further questions about your viewpoint before offering a different perspective; as opposed to an unintelligent person, who would just resort to insults when other people disagree with them," — AngelicCinnamonBun
"Admitting when they're wrong and being willing to learn from mistakes," — siyl1979
"Humor. I think that truly funny people are often very smart and cognizant of the different ways an idea can be humorous on several levels. They also know their audience. I think the difference between say a Jeff Foxworthy and a Dave Chappelle and a Bo Burnham is their audience and their interests," — biscuitboi967
"They say they love learning and they learn something new every day. Then they listen more than talk," — throwingplaydough
This article originally appeared on 08.06.19
"My girlfriend told me the greatest story. Apparently her 11-year-old also wanted to be a grown up this week and, in fact, not only did he treat his siblings like despised underlings, but when asked what he wanted, he said: 'I want the authority to be in charge of them and tell them what to do, because they deserve it!'
Well. My girlfriend and her husband are NOT AT ALL MESSING AROUND with parenting. Calmly, evenly, they granted his request to be a grown-up for a week by pulling him out of camp (the underlings still got to go, because they are 'such children') and sending him to work ALL DAY EVERY DAY with his dad. He has to get up early and shower and make breakfast for everyone. He has to kiss the underlings before he goes to work and tell them to have a great day and that he loves them. He has to work on a typing project during his office hours. He only gets to eat what his dad eats, because eating like a grown-up is not nearly as fun as eating like a kid.
Want to be an adult? Fine."
Photo via iStock.
The responses were hilarious, poignant, and a sign that the next generation is being parented by extremely capable, if not a little bit diabolical, hands.
Here are five of my favorite stories from the comments about parenting-gone-absolutely-right:
"My sister was snotty to my Mom. She called her and pretty much demanded, 'Bring my band uniform to the high school!' She's the one who forgot her uniform in the first place. Then she told my Mom 'Do not come in the school, that would be so EMBARRASSING. Just wait for me by my car.'
So my Mom did just that. She stood by my sister's car, in the Texas heat, WEARING my sister's band uniform. All the kids walking out for the day saw it.
Image via iStock.
"Our 11 and 12 year olds at the time were complaining and whining and being ungrateful, saying how 'hard their life was.' For boys, the big thing is wearing those cool Steph Curry shoes and our boys LOVE their Currys!
So after hearing the last complaint my husband went to Walmart to buy white maypop leather shoes (the kind you see in geriatric centers) and high white socks. He brought those bad boys home, set them on the boys' dresser, and made them wear those things everywhere we went. Those devastated boys told us we were 'ruining their lives.'
I may or may not have laughed like a little girl when I dropped them off at school and watched them do the walk of shame."
"I was a wretched, hormonal teenager. At the age of 13 I told my mom, 'I wish you were dead!' And at that moment, she 'died,' but to me only. (I had younger sisters).
She completely ignored me, didn't speak at me, didn't look at me, wouldn't cook for me, set my place at the table, wash my clothes, take me to school, NOTHING. After 8 days, I broke down in the middle of the night, went to her room, clutched her tightly while sobbing how sorry I was and how much I loved her and that I would NEVER say those words again. I'm 41 years old now, I have NEVER uttered those words or anything remotely like them after that incident."
After tough love, you gotta hug it out.
"I was grocery shopping with my three year old when she decided to start screaming for ice cream. There was no reasoning with her in this hulk-type rage. I swear she had super human strength as I struggled to get her out of the cart full of groceries.
I was completely unaware of the two police officers who were witnessing this wrestling match. She was still hitting, kicking, and screaming when I was stopped by the police officers in the parking lot. They thought I had abducted her. This happened long before we had smart phones full of our children's photos. They tried questioning her but she was still too busy throwing a fit, so I handed her over. I told them she could ride with them because I really needed a break and they could follow me home to see her birth certificate, baby book, etc. They started chuckling as one officer said, 'Spoken like a true mom!' I think they were more relieved than I was when she finally cried out, 'Mommy?'
The officer handed her back to me while the other went back inside the store to ensure there wasn't a distraught mother looking for her missing toddler. That evening my daughter told her dad she almost went to jail because she threw a fit, and I let her believe it. She didn't throw a fit in public again."
Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images.
"I didn't mean to scare her, so after this experience, I wanted to ensure my daughter had a healthy respect and appreciation for first responders. Today, I'm happy to say she is highly aware and appreciative of the police, firemen, paramedics, and military personnel who serve to protect her."
Photo by Mike Mozart/Flickr
"My kid was whining over not having anything to play with. So, without a word, I went to the garage and got a black 50 gallon trash bag and started putting in all the toys that he obviously didn't even realize were in our home to play with.
I loaded them AND him into the car and we drove to our local homeless shelter and gave every. single. toy. in the bag away. To a child who TRULY had nothing. And you know what? He didn't even cry. His eyes were opened to the ones who have nothing. He actually enlarged his heart that day. And, we still do it. We still take toys to kids with nothing at least once a year."
Parent win. Life lesson score.
Making children wear a sign that says, "I sneak boys in at 3 a.m. and disrespect my parents and grandparents" or otherwise berating them publicly is a good way to erode trust between the two of you and seriously damage your relationship.
But calling their bluff on a ridiculous demand? Or having a little fun with how you choose to correct their bad attitude? That's just plain survival.
And that's what parenting is really all about.
In the meantime, what's your favorite tough-love story?
His response was so wholesome.
We can all get a little fascinated by doppelgängers and it's fun to find people who look alike. But what do you do when your baby girl looks uncannily like a famous middle-aged man?
Mom Dani Grier Mulvenna shared a photo of her infant daughter Cora side by side with a photo of Woody Harrelson on Twitter, with the caption "Ok but how does our daughter look like Woody Harrelson." The resemblance truly is remarkable, and the tweet quickly racked up hundreds of thousands of likes, shares and replies.
\u201cOk but how does our daughter look like Woody Harreslon\u201d— Dani Grier Mulvenna (@Dani Grier Mulvenna) 1659529434
Naturally, the jokes about Harrelson being the baby's secret father came next, but then Harrelson himself got wind of it.
The actor shared a screenshot of Mulvenna's tweet on his Instagram page and included a delightful little poem he called "Ode to Cora."
You're an adorable child
Flattered to be compared
You have a wonderful smile
I just wish I had your hair
How adorable and wholesome is that? Not only did he acknowledge his look-alike, but he even made a self-deprecating joke about his receding hairline.
People gushed in the comments and Mulvenna shared how tickled her daughter will be someday by the connection.
"You've made our day ❤️ can't wait to show her this when she's older, you have another fan for life xxx," she wrote.
Mulvenna also shared on Twitter that her daughter doesn't always look like Woody Harrelson, but when she does, she really does.
\u201cCora says, thank you all so much for the likes and retweets and also that she doesn't always look like Woody Harreslon, it's just that when she does...she really really does xxx\u201d— Dani Grier Mulvenna (@Dani Grier Mulvenna) 1659529434
What a cutie. What's hilarious is that sweet little Cora has no clue about any of this excitement and she won't for many more years. What a fun story her parents will be able to share with her.
Social media has created a world where people can connect in ways they never would have before. When these platforms are so often used for negative means, it's lovely to see something so sweet and pure come out of them.