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longgone's avatar

How reliable is the perception of one's own intelligence?

Asked by longgone (17920points) December 26th, 2014

There are people who believe themselves to be genuinely smart. There are also (fewer, in my opinion) people who consider themselves less intelligent than average.

Statistically, isn’t it highly improbable for everyone to be right in their perception?

You may also add how smart you think you are, if you’re up to others commenting ;)

For this question, I’m defining intelligence as stellar problem solving, quick reasoning, effortless gathering and applying of knowledge. I know there are many forms of intelligence, but I think there is a certain kind we all think of when hearing the word. If anyone has a proper definition, I’d be glad to hear it!

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15 Answers

Dutchess_III's avatar

Not very. It’s like driving. Everybody thinks they are a good driver.

However, I have had people say things like, “I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed, I know, but….”

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I ain’t two dum, I reckon. :) Intelligence is knowing what you don’t know.

JLeslie's avatar

I think a lot of people are pretty close to accurate about themselves. Probably the more intelligent someone is the more aware they are of their talent for problem solving and other parameters of intelligence, and also where they fall short. Additionally, I think the older someone is the more aware they are, because teenagers for instance are very bad at self awareness. They tend to think they know everything and are smarter than everyone.

Do they still do IQ tests in school? I never even thought about my IQ until my dad told me I had a high one based on the tests, but my knowledge level was lacking on many things. Also, throughout my life people randomly have told me I’m smart.

I think my test scores make sense for my IQ. Basically, much higher than the average person, but definitely not genius level. Sometimes I remind myself most people are stupider than me when I get frustrated others. Some of them just can’t keep up, can’t think ahead, can’t extrapolate from past experiences to help in a current situation.

At the same time, I think everyone has smarts in what they are interested in. There are tons of things I have very little knowledge about, while even someone who is 30 points lower IQ than me might be an expert. Does the IQ really matter if we need that knowledge base?

filmfann's avatar

Harry Truman said “It’s what I learned after I knew everything that was important”.

ragingloli's avatar

For humans, completely unreliable, because judgement is impaired by ego.

prairierose's avatar

As already mentioned ego plays into our estimation of our intelligence as does illusory superiority a cognitive bias that causes us to overestimate our own qualities and abilities relative to others. I consider myself to be fairly intelligent but part of that is probably fueled by my ego.

kritiper's avatar

Not reliable at all. Everybody is at least a little off their rocker, but if you ask them, they will claim that they are fully in their right mind.

Mimishu1995's avatar

I don’t think I perceive my own intelligent right. There is time when I do things very satifactorily and time when things go horribly. Yeah my ego has a lot to do with my perception. And the ego itself is affected by other.

In my place intelligence is considered something along the line with “street-smart”, so I’m consider by some “stupid”. Maybe I’m really stupid, maybe not, but at one time I thought of myself as being stupid using that standard. Now I know that there are many ways to define intelligence, but the standard still get to me.

I still don’t know for sure if I’m intelligent or not.

Berserker's avatar

The type of intelligence you’re describing can be proven by those who claim it. You just need to see them back their shit up, or fail at it. Then you’ll know. Of course, catching them in the act is difficult. After all, everyone is either a superb worker or an excellent fighter, to hear them tell it. At that point it has nothing to do with perception anymore, but that’s the best I can do.

jerv's avatar

When I first saw this, the first words that popped into my mind were “Dunning-Kruger”.

Personally, I think it’s not terribly reliable. Many average-or-below people think they are geniuses, which is a stunning example of Dunning-Kruger. But they are also stubborn and egotistical enough that there’s no shaking that perception no matter how many times they are proven wrong.

Even test results are unreliable. I’ve seen people with IQs in the 150–180 range that were dumber than me (some of them even admitted as much) despite my IQ measuring only around 130. In other words, even people who have documented proof of their IQ have inaccurate perceptions of how smart they really are.

Personally, I am egotistical enough to think I have an accurate perception of my own intelligence though. I consider myself above-average, but foolish enough that there is no way I could ever be considered a true genius. I sometimes appear smarter than I actually am due to the wide variety of knowledge, but that is more memory than actual intelligence.

Dutchess_III's avatar

How could a person with an IQ of 150 – 180 be dumber than you, with an IQ of 130?

Darth_Algar's avatar


Easily. I know dude who’s got a staggering IQ, could mix up any kind of chemical compound you ask him to, can talk about any philosophy you’d like, etc, but when it comes to functioning in the everyday outside world you start to wonder how he’s survived 45 years. Some folks with high IQs just aren’t real bright.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, it’s a lack of common sense. I can grant you that! It’s like their brains can’t be bothered with the obvious so let’s stick my finger in this running fan blade!

ragingloli's avatar

Little known fact, Einstein stopped wearing socks, because his big toe would always end up making a hole in them

Mariah's avatar

By definition, 50% of people have below 100 IQ, yet everyone claims theirs is around 140, seems.

I used to be convinced that I was some kind of intellectual abnormality but nowadays I don’t feel so special most of the time. I think it’s an important part of most people’s egos to consider themselves intelligent so people really hold onto that notion.

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