The Surprising Negative Quality More Common in Intelligent People

Dacy Knight
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Timur Emek/Getty

We typically admire the qualities that come with being more intelligent and associate intelligent people with positive terms such as successful, interesting, open-minded, and adaptable. But not all personality traits that come with an increased IQ are necessarily desirable, which leads us to our next question—one that researchers from Poland and Germany combined their efforts in three studies to investigate.

What causes human deception? From telling little white lies to engaging in fraud, deceptive behavior is typically attributed to a character flaw or bad upbringing. But the research reveals that it's cognitive ability—the intelligence of an individual—that plays a central role in human deception. Strong cognitive ability increases both the effectiveness and the frequency of deceptive behaviors.

Furthermore, as intelligent people are better at crafting lies, they're also more apt to receive positive reinforcement for their deception and thus are more likely to continue the behavior in the future. Finally, the most surprising finding from the study might be the type of intelligent person that is most likely to be deceptive. Though deception by nature is an antisocial behavior, intelligent extroverts are most likely to deceive.

Head to the comments to let us know what you think of these findings.

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