People with a high IQ are considered to be smarter—but do they also have quirks in the way that their brains process information that gives them an advantage?
Well, recent research finds that when subjects in a study were asked to observe objects in motion, those with a high IQ automatically focused their attention more efficiently than people who score lower on IQ tests. The research is published in the journal Current Biology.
Participants watched video snippets of black vertical lines that took up a small section of the screen and that moved either to the left or right. The high IQ subjects spotted the direction of motion much faster than those with low IQ. Which is not a surprise.
But when the vertical lines took up much more of the screen those with a high IQ actually were slower to tell the direction of movement than the lower IQ subjects. The researchers think that this slowness actually represents a benefit of high intelligence—smarter people may automatically focus less well on large scenes that are likely to be background in favor of the perception of smaller details. Of course, if you’re looking for someone really good at seeing moving black and white lines, ask a lion tracking a zebra.
[The above text is a transcript of this podcast.]