Why Do Intelligent People Behave So Stupidly at Times?

· May 5, 2017

Having a high intelligence quotient (IQ) doesn’t mean you are smart. You don’t need to look very far to find incredible acts of stupidity committed by intelligent, or even brilliant, people. Thus, many of the tests that “measure” the intelligence quotient only capture one type of intelligence. In most cases, it is analytical intelligence. This ability recognizes patterns and resolves analytical problems. Most IQ exams don’t recognize the other two aspects of human intelligence: creative and practical intelligence.

Creative intelligence is the ability to deal with new situations. Practical intelligence is our ability to do things. During the first 20 years of life, people are rewarded for their analytical intelligence. We have an educational system structured around educating us in this regard.

For a long time our professional fields have been taken over by rational intelligence. Furthermore, contempt has been bred towards emotions. It was thought that emotions were a source of negative influence for the performance of any type of job.

Nowadays, emotions have gained their own merit, and emotional intelligence is highly valued.

“Only intelligence analyzes itself”
-Jaime Balmes-

Why do intelligent people behave in a silly manner?

Excessive ego is one of the causes that makes intelligent people not behave as such. They sometimes believe themselves omniscient, omnipotent or invulnerable and this prevents them from seeing the real consequences of their actions.

man with rocket on his back

With our intelligence, we can generate solutions to any problem. The more intelligence we have, the more or better solutions we’re supposed to create. This is because we have a greater perspective, a sense of the reality of the problem and knowledge of the circumstances which determine it. This is true global intelligence. According to the Royal Spanish Academy, this refers to the following:


1. The ability to understand or comprehend.

2. The ability to resolve problems.

3. Knowledge, comprehension, and the act of understanding.

For this, intelligence uses knowledge, abilities and attitudes. Or, as the RSA puts it, intelligence uses ability, skill, and experience.