by | Mar 8, 2020 | Chris Goff | 4 comments

by Chris Goff 

I love Reader’s Digest. I got hooked on it at a very young age. The articles are short, often reprinted collections of articles from other places. Packed full of information, entries range from bullet point articles, to Drama’s in Real Life, to joke sections, to health tips. There’s always something to learn, leave you amazed or make you laugh out loud.

Here are a few things I’ve learned in the past few months:

  • Intelligence is hard to measure

And yet, writer Tina Donvito, a writer for The Healthy tackled the research and came away with a laundry list of things science has linked to higher levels of learning, problem-solving and creativity.

  • You stay up late.

I’ve got this one! Just ask my friends. They’re always commenting on how late my emails come in. Well, a study from the London School of Economics and Political Science found those who go to bed later have higher IQs. Vindicated! Why, you ask? It seems it’s rooted in our evolution. Nighttime was a more dangerous place, and those that ventured into the night needed to be more intelligent. And here I thought it was because I was too busy to waste my time sleeping.

  • You swear.

What the f*&%? A study by Timothy Jay, PhD, a renowned expert in cursing, found people who came up with more swear words had a larger vocabulary in general. The trick is cultivating enough emotional intelligence (EQ) to know when to use them.

  • You criticize yourself.

I’ve got this one, too! Seriously, a landmark 1999 study from Cornell University found that incompetent people couldn’t recognize their own incompetence. It’s known as the Dunning-Kruger effect. Smart people are smart enough to know how dumb they are.

My personal favorite bathroom reading material
  • You talk to yourself.

A study from the University of Wisconsin and University of Pennsylvania says self-talkers are exhibiting signs of higher thinking, memory and perception skills. And, here, I thought it came with aging. What’s that old adage, with age comes wisdom? Proof!
And my personal favorite—

  • The sound of chewing annoys you.

I have to admit, this is a new phenomenon for me. Only in the past six months have I discovered the sounds of people eating annoys the hell out of me. Fortunately, a study from Northwestern University found people who tested higher in creative cognition tended to have an inability to filter out irrelevant noise. Bottom line, they’re taking it ALL in.

So, now that you know how smart I am, tell me, how do you stack up when you measure yourself against these intelligence markers? 

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  1. Karna Bodman

    You brought back memories of how I (too) raced to grab the READERS DIGEST as soon as it hit the mailbox. I was probably 8 years old when I would curl up in a window seat and pour through it looking for the section on "Word Power" to see if I knew what all those "big" words meant. Thanks for a great article, Chris.

  2. Lisa Black

    I remember Readers Digest around all the time when I was a kid, but I don’t remember if my parents had a subscription or if they were hand-me-downs. With a fairly strict 10 pm bedtime I totally fail the first one but I somewhat redeem myself with the last three. And I HATE noise. Why is it so impossible these days to find a restaurant that’s anything less than deafening?

  3. Gayle Lynds

    We had Readers Digest in our bathroom as I was growing up, and I've never lost my fondness for it. A couple of years ago I started a new subscription, then found I was saving every issue because I wanted to read them cover to cover. Eventually the number was so great I had to toss them and start over. Sad. 🙂

  4. Robin Burcell

    OMG! I am a genius! LOL. I was raised by my grandparents. My grandfather kept RD on a little footstool in the bathroom. That was where I first picked it up. I loved to read the little funny snippets (before graduating to reading the actual articles). In fact, my life's goal was to have something published in RD. Still on my bucket list!