New Study: People Who Swear, Stay Up Late, and Are Messy are More Intelligent


If you have a dirty room, dirtier mouth, and can never seem to get to bed in “good time” despite your best intentions, you’ve probably been badgered by your parents or spouse for years to change those aspects of yourself. You’re in luck, however, because those three seemingly undesirable qualities might actually be signs of superior intelligence.


Profanity Correlates with Higher IQ Scores

“People who swear all the time are just too dumb to think of a better word to use!”

Chances are, whether you swear like a sailor or save cursing for when you stub your toe or get cut off on the highway, you’ve heard a version of that statement before. Science shows, however, that this is entirely not the case.

Turns out swear word fluency is correlated to general word fluency, and those who can sputter out a greater number of profanities in one minute tend to have higher IQ scores. There is a similar correlation with those who enjoy some good old-fashioned vulgar humor along with their curse words, with the exception of female-sex-related slurs. (1, 3, 4)

So the next time someone tells you your use of undesirable language shows a lack of intelligence, you can drop some well-worded science on them.

Staying Up Late is an Evolutionary Sign of Intelligence

Humans are a unique species of mammals for many reasons, one of which is the ability to completely ignore traditional circadian rhythms and get up and go to bed whenever we want. This was not the case with our ancient ancestors, who lived before fire was invented and therefore could not see in the dark. (2)

For them, staying up late was not only useless, but dangerous. As animals who rely almost entirely on sight to be able to do most things, nothing productive could be done once the sun had gone down. Add to that the fact that our lack of night vision makes us extremely vulnerable to predators, and you can see why staying up late just didn’t make sense. (2)

The invention of fire and subsequent light sources was a total game changer for the human race, making nocturnal tendencies an evolutionary novel. Scientists hypothesized that more intelligent people were more likely to stay up long after dark than their less intelligent counterparts.  In essence, smart people sleep less.(2)

This hypothesis was confirmed by the analysis of a large group of young Americans and their sleep habits. Turns out, those with a childhood IQ of less than 75 typically went to bed much earlier than those with a childhood IQ of at least 125. This doesn’t mean, however, that staying up until 3am getting in Internet fights means you are the next Albert Einstein, more likely you are staying up reading a great book or other more engaging activities. That being said, having a regular sleep pattern and still getting 6-8 hours of quality sleep each night are crucial to your health and brain function. (2, 3, 4)

Geniuses Have Messier Desks

It seems that more intelligent people spend less time cleaning and organizing their space because their minds are preoccupied with other thoughts and ideas. Messy environments are typically a sign of a more creative (and somewhat chaotic) work environment. They inspire the breaking away from tradition and encourage new, innovative solutions, as opposed to a more organized work space which seems to encourage convention and playing it safe. (3, 4)

What’s more, research shows intelligent people typically get bored more easily and prefer to spend more time thinking and are therefore less active and inherently lazy. (We apologize to any parent’s whose teenagers may have stumbled across this article and now refuse to clean their rooms.) (3, 4)

To conclude, if you’re feeling like you laugh a little too hard at crude jokes, swear like a trucker and your room looks like a tornado blew through it, keep doing what you do, you’re probably a genius.

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