According to new research published in the Journal of Positive Psychology, those who are intellectually modest do better on a general knowledge exam. The new findings also provide some light on the specific characteristics that may explain the relationship between intellectual humility and knowledge gain.
The study was led by Ashley Taylor from the University of Michigan. She and her colleagues conducted two experiments to explore this connection. In the first experiment, they tested whether people who score high on measures of intellectual humility also score higher on tests of general knowledge. They found that this is indeed the case: Those who score high on measures of intellectual humility also score higher on measures of general knowledge.
In the second experiment, the researchers wanted to see how much of an impact having knowledge about one's own intelligence can have on improving one's scores on general knowledge exams. They gave some participants tests of general knowledge before and after they read essays describing either their own or someone else's brain activity while performing logical tasks. They found that reading about one's own brain activity led to improvements in test scores, whereas reading about someone else's brain activity had no effect. This suggests that knowing about your own intelligence is important for gaining new knowledge, but not knowing about your own intelligence could actually be holding you back from learning new things.
So, yes, being intellectually humble can make you smarter.
What exactly is intellectual humility? One of the finest ways to cultivate intellectual humility is to consider the situations that necessitate it. For example, if you are complimented on achieving a "A" on a test, you should not say how clever you are or how little you had to study. Rather, you should respond with an expression of gratitude for the praise received.
Intellectual humility is also needed when dealing with your own ideas and theories. You should be open to considering alternative views even if they are presented by those who you perceive as being in a position of authority. For example, if someone argues that humans caused climate change, you should not immediately dismiss this view but rather should try to understand why people think as they do. Only then can we come up with good solutions to combat climate change.
Intellectual humility is also necessary when criticizing others. You should be willing to admit when you are wrong about something and show empathy toward those who you criticize. For example, if someone accuses you of being greedy because of how much money you make, you should not argue with them but rather should apologize for causing them pain and give back any excess pay you receive.
Finally, intellectual humility is needed when accepting awards or giving speeches. You should not feel like you have to accept every honor that is offered to you. If you feel like you cannot handle all the attention this award will bring, then it is best to decline it.
Leaders that perform well on intellectual humility exams are more receptive to competing viewpoints, pay more attention to facts, and are more self-aware. Most significantly, intellectually modest leaders are willing to confess when they are wrong; they recognize and learn from their mistakes.
Intellectual humility is not only important for good leadership but also helps anyone improve themselves personally. When you are intellectually humble, you are more likely to be open to new ideas, forgive others' faults, and resist taking things too seriously.
In addition, intellectual humility makes you a better leader because it reduces your tendency to engage in fallible reasoning and leads you to seek out alternative views. This increases the chances that you will identify problems with your own thinking or that of others, and adjust your beliefs accordingly.
Finally, intellectual humility helps you become a better person because it promotes self-awareness and a growth mindset. You become more aware of your strengths and weaknesses, which allows you to move past your limitations and reach higher goals.
In conclusion, intellectual humility makes you a better person because it improves your ability to lead others and yourself. Intellectual modesty is necessary for effective leadership, and also helps individuals grow into better people.