How to Spot Low Intelligence in a Person: 19 Telltale Traits

Most people think they’re very smart, but unfortunately, this is not true. Most of us have average intelligence, but some people have a hard time accepting this. Ironically, these are usually the least smart people. Read more as we look at 19 signs someone is of low intelligence. 

Limited Vocabulary

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A person with low intelligence often struggles to express themselves due to a limited vocabulary. Of course, this can be caused by other things, such as using a second language, anxiety, or simply fatigue. However, for unintelligent people, it’s usually obvious that this isn’t the case.

Poor Problem-Solving Skills

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Individuals showing low intelligence may have significant difficulty solving everyday problems.  The ability to solve problems is one of the best signs of high intelligence, so if someone lacks it, they likely aren’t very smart. You’ll notice that unintelligent people struggle with even the simplest tasks.

Difficulty Understanding Abstract Concepts

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Abstract thinking is challenging for those with lower intelligence. Design Match defines abstract concepts as intangible, existing beyond the realm of direct sensory perception. Since these concepts are not obvious, such people have a hard time figuring things out like metaphors, irony, and sarcasm. They can usually only see things that are right in front of them.

Lack of Curiosity

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A notable lack of curiosity can be a sign of low intelligence. Curiosity is what allows us to learn new things that are outside our world. People who have low intelligence don’t really care to learn anything new or how anything works. They rarely ask questions about how things work and just accept them as they are.

Poor Memory Recall

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Another sign of high intelligence is having a good memory. While it is not everything, to know things, you have to remember them. Unintelligent people forget things very easily and even when they remember, they don’t recall the right things. This is why they usually do poorly in exams such as history and geography.

Challenges in Following Instructions

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Following detailed instructions can be a struggle for those with low intelligence. Even with direct, simple-to-understand instructions right in front of them, they will completely miss what you’re telling them. They’ll ask for clarification for everything, even for things that should be obvious.

Limited Social Skills

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Human beings are social animals, meaning that social skills are crucial for survival. For this reason, individuals with the highest intelligence have to have higher social skills, meaning they are able to work with others to achieve what’s best for the community. On the other hand, low-intelligence people rarely understand what it means to be a good member of society.

Slow Learning Pace

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Some people take more time to learn new things. They need to hear or do something many times to understand it. On the other hand, other people might learn the same thing much faster. Because of this slower pace, they might fall behind others, especially in school.

Emotional Immaturity

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Individuals with low intelligence may react too strongly to small problems. They might yell or cry about things that seem minor to others. They often have a hard time controlling how they feel and don’t understand how others feel. Bad things happen to everyone, and we must all learn to deal with them without losing ourselves. 

Difficulty Adapting to Change

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For some people, adapting to change is particularly challenging. New situations or unexpected changes in their routine cause them more stress than is necessary. As Heraclitus said, “The only constant in life is change.” These individuals are often reluctant to alter their established ways of doing things and can appear confused or disoriented by normal changes in their daily lives. 

Poor Judgment

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Making sound decisions is often a challenge for people with poor judgment. They tend to make choices that lack common sense and don’t consider the potential consequences of their actions. This trait can also manifest in trusting the wrong people, which may lead to repeated mistakes and difficulties in personal and professional relationships.

Lack of Focus

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People who lack focus have significant difficulties maintaining concentration. They are easily distracted during tasks, often unable to stay on topic during conversations, and rarely complete tasks efficiently. This lack of focus can affect their productivity and ability to follow through, which can be problematic in both academic settings and the workplace.

Simplistic Thinking

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Simplistic thinking involves a very basic, often superficial approach to understanding situations. People with this trait tend to avoid complex reasoning and might view the world in stark black-and-white terms. They frequently oversimplify issues, which can prevent them from appreciating the full spectrum of a situation and limit their problem-solving abilities.

Communication Struggles

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Effective communication can be a significant challenge for some individuals. They often struggle with forming coherent sentences, which makes it difficult for them to convey their thoughts clearly. Additionally, they may fail to grasp the nuances in conversations, leading to frequent misunderstandings of what others are saying. 

Need for Routine

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A strong reliance on routine is often linked to lower intelligence. Individuals who need strict routines are usually deeply unsettled by any disruptions to their regular patterns. They lean heavily on familiar routines to manage daily activities and are resistant to adopting new methods or changing their usual paths. 

Inconsistent Work Performance

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Consistency in work performance is crucial for success, yet some individuals exhibit unpredictable and poor performance. Tasks often remain incomplete or are done incorrectly. These individuals also face issues with multitasking and prioritizing, which worsens their inefficiencies. This ends up impacting their overall productivity and professional growth.

Lack of Planning

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Planning ahead is not a common strength. Some people live their lives without a single worry about how things are going to turn out. While this can be fun in the short term, plans are important because they give us direction or, at the very least, protect us from bad endings. As they say, plans are worthless, but planning is everything. 

Dependence on Others

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Naturally, people who are less intelligent are going to need others to make good decisions for them. You’ll find them always asking for some guidance, even before making the simplest of decisions. Even worse is if they can’t make a decision without seeing what other people think about them. 

Resistance to Learning

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Have you ever tried to teach someone something but they wouldn’t listen? That’s because they are too unintelligent to realize that they need to learn something new. This is known as the Dunning-Kruger effect. These people will prefer to engage in activities such as scrolling on social media or watching reality TV instead of seeking knowledge through things like books or shows.

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