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Psychology Tips To Subtly Show Off Your Intelligence




For many, talking is cheap, and it’s better to show people you mean business rather than just talking about it. Everyone wants people to think of them as intelligent, but that’s not going to happen by talking about how smart you are…in fact, when it comes to showing people how smart you are, most of the time, less talk is definitely more effective.

Intelligence, as we now know, is multifaceted. Just because you’re not interested in solving the value of Pi doesn’t make you less intelligent than the mathematician who is. Maybe you’re more of a linguist or have a high emotional intelligence. But telling that to some people who like to brag about their IQ is definitely not going to prove anything.  

The art of showing people how intelligent you are lies in being subtle. Here, we’ll give you tips using psychology to help you improve your perceived intelligence, among others.

What Does Psychology Classify As Intelligence?

Defining intelligence is not a simple task, and in psychology, there are many theories that deal with intelligence. You may be familiar with a few, including general intelligence (or g factor), Thurstone’s Primary Mental Abilities and Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences.

Generally speaking, in psychology, when people refer to intelligence, they are talking about one’s mental capacity to learn from experiences. This generally includes your ability to adapt to new situations, solve problems, think creatively, understand and manage abstract concepts, and apply knowledge to successfully alter your surroundings.

While psychologists follow different theories that determine intelligence, most people will have a generalised idea of what it means to be intelligent. Using psychology, you can alter your perceived intelligence, and here are a few ways to do it.

Be An Active Listener

Active listening is a skill that many have yet to master. Many people don’t actually listen to others in order to genuinely pay attention to them; rather, they are just looking for a cue for when to jump in. So listen with genuine curiosity, empathy, and focus.

For anyone who feels like they fall into the bracket of those who don’t actively listen, you’re definitely not alone. But the good news is that active listening is a skill that can be improved with a conscious effort. Here are a few ways to exercise active listening:

  • Be present in conversations
  • Concentrate on building a connection rather than affirmation in conversations
  • Subtly change the topic if you feel yourself getting bored
  • Ask open-ended questions to encourage people to speak
  • For anyone who struggles with social anxiety, try employing breathing techniques to calm your nervous system

Choose Your Words Carefully

In time, you will realise that sometimes staying silent and choosing your words carefully will do you a whole world of good.


Words do carry a lot of weight, and when we’re not careful with them, they can cause us to overshare or say something we might regret or just make us look a little foolish.

Become A Lifelong Learner

One trait that really makes intelligent people stand out is their love of learning new things. Intelligent people have a curiosity about the world around them. There’s just something about people who always try to understand the way things work around them. Whether it’s through watching YouTube videos, reading articles or even studying further, the thirst for knowledge will always make people see you as intelligent without you even needing to say a word.

For those who are intrigued by the human mind and want to better understand how people tick, then consider taking a graduate certificate in psychology online. It’s not only interesting but might also help you advance your career.


We’re going to give you a pivotal key to understanding how life works: it’s unpredictable. The beginning of being smart means knowing that you aren’t going to be able to control everything, but you can adapt. Intelligent people will take what is happening around them and have the ability to pick themselves up after they’ve experienced adversity and face problems with creativity. The ability to be flexible and stay on your toes in different circumstances tells the world a lot about your level of intelligence.

Read In Public

One way to instantly show off your smarts is by reading a book in front of people. Reading exposes you to new ideas, boosts your empathy, builds your vocabulary, and so much more. All of these positive traits are associated with fluid intelligence, emotional intelligence and crystallised intelligence.


Reading simultaneously activates multiple areas of the brain and can help increase connectivity in the brain over time. So, you can understand why, when people see you reading in public, they would consider you to be an intelligent person.

Final Thoughts

Overall, there are still many different forms of intelligence, but people will often associate certain behaviours and abilities with intelligence. So, when you’re wanting to boost your perceived intelligence amongst colleagues, friends, family, and maybe even strangers, go ahead and try these tips to boost how intelligent you look to others subtly.

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