People Who Swear, Stay Up Late, and Make a Mess Are More Intelligent

Updated 05/07/19
signs of intelligence
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Staying up all hours of the night, regularly using profanity, and living in a state of disorganized chaos are generally frowned upon in our society. From the widespread assumption that curse words are a sign of a lack of intelligence to the cultural dissemination of phrases such as "the early bird gets the worm" and "less is more," people possessing any one (or all three) of these "negative" traits have likely been encouraged to change their ways at some point or another. 

But a simple change in perspective and a little scientific evidence can shed a new light on these stereotypically "bad" habits. Business Insider's John Stanley Hunter recently sought out to do just that, examining these three traits as they relate to intelligence. According to Hunter's research, as informed by three psychology studies, using curse words, staying up late, and preferring messiness to organization can all be scientifically interpreted as signs of intelligence. 

Hunter references three separate studies published between 2010 and 2014 that all, generally speaking, attempt to debunk negative stereotypes and dissect the peculiar habits of some of history's most brilliant minds. By way of slightly varied methodologies, each study measured the negative habit in question, and its inverse, against IQ. By comparing the IQ scores of those who swear versus those who don't, those who stay up late versus those who go to bed early, and those who are messy versus those who are organized, researchers found that participants in the former groups also possessed higher IQs.


Although not culturally revered, these findings do explain some of the bizarre lifestyle habits honed by our nation's best and brightest. After all, Albert Einstein was a complete slob, Winston Churchill was a night owl, and writer Allen Ginsberg was famous for his obscenity. They had to be onto something, right?

Do you agree or disagree with these findings? Join the discussion below.

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