While brilliant artists or mad scientists are often stereotyped as social outliers, these people may actually be more intelligent than the masses. A study published in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Social Psychology Quarterly found a connection between evolutionarily novel preferences and/or social values and higher levels of intelligence. In other words, people who are less traditional, more open-minded, and generally go against the grain tend to have higher IQs than those on the opposite side of the spectrum.
“More intelligent people are significantly more likely to exhibit social values and religious and political preferences that are novel to the human species in evolutionary history,” writes Phys.org of the study. “Specifically, liberalism and atheism, and for men (but not women), preference for sexual exclusivity correlate with higher intelligence.” For reference, “evolutionarily novel” refers to preferences and values that our ancestors were not biologically designed to have. It’s a tendency to think and live far outside of the box, if you will.
“General intelligence, the ability to think and reason, endowed our ancestors with advantages in solving evolutionarily novel problems for which they did not have innate solutions,” said Satoshi Kanazawa, an evolutionary psychologist at the London School of Economics and Political Science, of the study. “As a result, more intelligent people are more likely to recognize and understand such novel entities and situations than less intelligent people, and some of these entities and situations are preferences, values, and lifestyles.”