Blame genetics but some people are indeed born wittier than others. But that doesn’t mean you can’t appear to look more intelligent. Want to come across as brainy? Research offers several surprising suggestions. As compiled from inc.com, Business Insider and Men’s Health magazine, here are a few science-backed tips you can follow and you’ll present the persona of serious-smarts in no time.
Walk at the same speed as others
A study led by Boston University marketing professor Carey Morewedge found that “people use speed of movement to infer the presence of mind in other persons.” A slow stroll or speedy pace might take away from your intelligence quotient. So if you walk faster or slower than the people around you, they think you’re stupid. When people watched others strolling down the street, they judged those who moved at the average pace as more intellectual and competent. Researchers believe that if someone deviates from what is considered normal — say, by walking too slow or too fast, might be judged negatively.
Speaking constantly in monotone sounds dull and boring. “If two speakers utter exactly the same words, but one speaks a little faster and louder and with fewer pauses and greater variation in volume, that speaker will be judged to be more energetic, knowledgeable, and intelligent,” writes Leonard Mlodinow, author of Subliminal: How Your Unconscious Mind Rules Your Behavior. To appear sharp and competent at work and otherwise, indulge in expressive speech. Speaking with modulation in pitch and volume, and a minimum of obvious pauses, boosts credibility and enhances the impression of intelligence.
Look people in the eye
A 2007 study lead by Loyola Marymount University professor Nora A. Murphy found that making eye contact with your conversation partner is huge for your perceived smartness. “Looking while speaking was a key behaviour,” she wrote. “It significantly correlated with IQ, was successfully manipulated by impression-managing targets, and contributed to higher perceived intelligence ratings.” Resist the urge to zone out when someone’s jabbering on and on to you. People who appear engaged in conversation, make solid eye contact, and people who fidgeted during the interaction, however, were judged as much dumber.
Don’t type like a texter
Ppl mite thnk ur stupd if u type lke this. Using text lingo on social networking sites like Facebook can make you appear dumb, a new study from the UK shows. People who posted status updates with correct spelling and capitalisation were judged as more intelligent, competent, and employable than those who relied on abbreviations, phonetic spelling, and acronyms. Text language originally developed as a way to type faster on mobile devices, but it’s not necessary on standard keyboards, especially if you want to appear sharper.
Keeping shush at the office won’t make you look any brighter. Researchers from Harvard Business School found that asking others for advice and input can make you seem more proficient. This is likely because being asked for guidance strokes the advisor’s ego — it feeds his confidence that he’s smart, and as a result, so are you for choosing to seek his advice. But don’t make queries just for the fun of it. Asking for counsel on extremely simple tasks or probing about the same thing repeatedly might in fact decrease your perceived competence, because you’ll seem incapable of learning, says study author Dr Alison Wood Brooks.
Sit up straight
Those who uphold good posture are perceived as smarter than those who slouch. Sitting up straight will make you feel more confident too, says study conducted by Ohio State University. Science Daily reported, “Researchers found that people who were told to sit up straight were more likely to believe thoughts they wrote down while in that posture concerning whether they were qualified for a job.” We all know how hard it can be to convince ourselves sometimes, let alone others. Throw those shoulders back, raise that chin and say it like you mean it and you’ll be getting your point across sooner than you thought.
Ditch the fake smile
Time to sport a real grin. People who smile authentically — characterised by narrowing of the eyes, crow’s feet, and rising of the cheeks were thought to be more intelligent than those who faked it, a study in the Journal of Nonverbal Behaviour found. Research suggested that fake smiles are easily busted and judged negatively while ‘real smilers’ were instantly considered to be more attractive. It might be because real smiles radiate genuineness and dependability, which people can consider a significant factor when judging your intelligence.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 16th, 2015.
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