15 Stupid Things People Mistakenly Perceive as Intelligence Today

Have you ever heard someone associate something ridiculous with being a sign of intelligence? You’re not alone. Someone recently asked an online community for these things and here is what they had to say.

1. Being In Charge

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Just because someone is in charge doesn’t mean they’re the sharpest tool in the shed. I’ve worked with a boss or two; I won’t name names *cough* Susan, who wasn’t as competent at their jobs as others believed. One noted if someone’s in an authoritative position, others should praise them and say how good they are, not themselves.

2. Arrogance Portrayed as Confidence

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Many agree that a knowledgeable person knows some things they don’t know and attempts to keep learning and growing. However, “an idiot” refuses to believe that there’s anything they don’t know and fears doing anything that will demonstrate that truth. Somebody suggested, “If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room!”

3. Bald and Left Handed

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One man made me chuckle when they confessed to being bald and left-handed. He’s living in China and explained that people continue to call him intelligent because of those attributes.

4. Cornering People in Arguments

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Others drew attention to the ignorance of people who use bullying in arguments. Then, acting as though it means they have won. One explained how after someone makes a “spectacular claim” and you ask for a source, they reply with, “I’m not going to spoon-feed it to you,” because they don’t have one.

5. Silence

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One man shared that he is silent by nature and that many people have expressed how profound and thoughtful he is because of it. Another quoted Plato, “Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they would like to say something.”

6. Glasses

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Many people agreed that people had a misconception that wearing glasses makes you an intelligent person. Somebody elaborated that their friend wore glasses without prescription lenses because he believed it made him look more intelligent.

7. Strong Opinions, Held With Confidence

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After someone suggested people who confidently hold strong opinions aren’t as intelligent as perceived, one semi-jokingly replied, “80% of podcasts just screamed out in unison.”

8. Having an Opinion About Everything

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Having an opinion about everything was heavily voted as a misconception of intelligence. One also added the need to tell everyone about their opinions. Immediate respect goes out to anyone saying they don’t know enough about the topic to have a definite opinion.

9. A College Degree

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Okay, calling a college degree stupid is a little harsh here. However, many people believe it not to be an indicator of intelligence. One confirmed, “I have a Ph.D. and once locked myself inside my car.”

10. Wealth

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The idea that being wealthy means intelligence is a significant misconception. Someone suggested that Elon Musk is a prime example of this, elaborating that book smart doesn’t always equate to intelligence.

11. Using Big Words

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Using big words or “complicated language” when explaining or discussing complex topics was noted as a misperception of intelligence. One advised, “The smartest people can actually make it sound simple.”

12. Being Asian

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Someone brought up the stereotype about Asians being good at math before an Asian confirmed being labeled as such. Another suggested, “I’m pretty sure the people who think all Asian people are smart…don’t know very many Asian people.” I’m willing to say that’s a safe bet. Generalizing an entire population isn’t ever accurate. 

13. Age

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Being older is often misconstrued as being more intelligent, but this is not the case. One clarified, “The older I get, the more evidence I see proving that most adults are larger children.”

14. Memorizing Things

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Someone summed it best: “Intelligent people need a good memory, but the reverse isn’t true. I’ve seen people regurgitate everything they learn from books in exams but cannot comprehend a problem that uses the principles that they memorized.”

15. British Accent

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Finally, a Brit explained that Americans often believe Brits with English accents are intelligent. However, others suggested it’s not only Americans with that misconception before one stated, “It’s because of Hollywood which makes that stereotype feed on itself.”

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Elizabeth Ervin is the owner of Sober Healing. She is a freelance writer passionate about opioid recovery and has celebrated breaking free since 09-27-2013. She advocates for mental health awareness and encourages others to embrace healing, recovery, and Jesus.