Monday 26 September 2016

Eight tricks to make you appear more intelligent

How to give the impression of expertise when you don’t know what you’re talking about

Olivia Goldhill

Published 02/04/2015 | 20:54

You don't have to be Einstein to come across as the most intelligent person in the room
You don't have to be Einstein to come across as the most intelligent person in the room

It’s hardly a surprise that Google gives us an inflated impression of our own intelligence. The search engine has the answer to every conceivable question at touch of a keyboard, turning even the most ignorant into instant boffins.

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But faking intelligence doesn’t have to be high-tech. Here are several other ways to look like the genius in the room.

Cover up

Skimpy clothing may be sexy (depending on the wearer, of course), but it will also make you look dumb. Intelligence is not associated with impressive abs or slim thighs, and studies have found that we judge both men and women based on the amount of skin they show. Professor Kurt Gray, from the University of Maryland, found that those who wear fewer clothes are viewed as more emotional, but less capable of planning and acting on their own decisions. Boffins, meawnhile, we recognise as shrouded in cardigans and scarves.

Wear glasses

The ultimate geek’s accessory is scientifically proven to make you look more intelligent. Glasses with a dark rim are judged as more intelligent but less attractive, but rimless glasses are evaluated as both more clever and more trustworthy.

Look good

If you make a good impression on others, they’re more likely to judge specific traits – such as intelligence – positively. This is known as “the halo effect” and means that attractive people are often judged as more intelligent, kind and interesting than others.

But not too good, ladies

Unfortunately, men are judged to be more intelligent and competent than women, which mean that women have to put in extra effort - and even adopt masculine mannerisms - if they want to create an impression of expertise.

Don’t swear

Bad language makes you look emotionally volatile, unprofessional, and suffering from a limited vocabulary. In one study, 54 per cent of those surveyed said they perceive people who swear as less intelligent. So listen to your mother and keep your language clean.

Talk quickly

Long pauses won’t make you look thoughtful, but stupid. Cut out those irritating “umms” and make your point briskly. We judge people who talk quickly as more credible and persuasive.

Use simple words

Complicated words and jargon will not necessarily make you look more intelligent to others. Research into the “consequences of erudite vernacular utilized irrespective of necessity” - or in other words - “using long words needlessly”, found that university students’ strategy of using long words to sound clever does not, in fact, work. Keep it simple, stupid.

Stay away from booze

You don’t even need to drink alcohol to be judged as a dunce. Merely holding a glass of wine will make you look less intelligent than others. Researchers have termed this the “imbibing idiot bias” and found that those who drink are perceived as less professional.

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