Some people are indeed born smarter than others — it’s genetics.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t appear to look more intelligent.
Don’t hold a beer.
No wonder that even holding a beer makes you look less intelligent, according to a joint study by the University of Michigan and University of Pennsylvania.
“People who hold an alcoholic beverage are perceived to be less intelligent than those who do not, a mistake we term the imbibing idiot bias,” write authors Scott Rick and Maurice Schweitzer.
Walk at the same speed as everybody else.
Put on thick glasses.
Moreover, the kind of glasses matters: Thick, blocky frames make you look smarter than thin ones.
Go hipster, look smart.
Use a middle initial.
“People’s middle initials have a particular and powerful effect on how people are perceived by others,” say psychologists Wijnand A.P. Van Tilburg of the University of Southampton and Eric R. Igou of the University of Limerick.
“The display of middle initials increases the perceived social status of these people,” they write in the European Journal of Social Psychology, and it “positively biases inferences about their intellectual capacity and performance.”
But verbosity backfires.
A 2012 Princeton study — with the fitting title “Consequences of erudite vernacular utilized irrespective of necessity: problems with using long words needlessly” — found that clumsily using big words causes people to think you’re less intelligent.
“The prestige of science appears to grant persuasive power even to such trivial science-related elements as graphs,” Tal and Wansink write.
“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.” “Expressive speech, with modulation in pitch and volume, and a minimum of noticeable pauses, boosts credibility and enhances the impression of intelligence.”
Look people in the eye.
“Looking while speaking was a key behavior,” she wrote. “It significantly correlated with IQ, was successfully manipulated by impression-managing targets, and contributed to higher perceived intelligence ratings.”
“The clothes we wear have power not only over others,” write authors Hajo Adam and Adam Galinsky, “but also over ourselves.”