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Get Angry Easily? Science Just Discovered It Says a Lot About Your Intelligence

You get angry because other people aren’t quite as smart as you, right?

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BY Chris Matyszczyk - 07 Aug 2018

Get Angry Easily? Science Just Discovered It Says a Lot About Your Intelligence

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.


Rage is all the rage these days.

It brings people together in a scalding bath of solidarity.

It separates people from the objects of their rage -- usually those who might disagree with the ragers or, perhaps, have different ways of enjoying life.

What, though, does anger say about you? Other than that you may not be able to manage it, of course?

Well, here's a study that reveals ragers might have one particular characteristic: they're not as smart as they think they are.

Marcin Zajenkowski of the University of Warsaw and research partner Gilles Gignac of the Universit of Western Australia in Perth, offer a pulsating title to their work: Why do angry people overestimate their intelligence? Neuroticism as a suppressor of the association between Trait-Anger and subjectively assessed intelligence.

Academics rarely use 5 words when 20 will do.

Not that this makes me angry. No, no. Please don't think that.

Here's the funny thing about anger. Too many people think it's a negative emotion.

However, Zajenkowski observes: "Anger is more approach oriented and associated with optimistic risk perception and generally optimistic bias."

The problem, though, is that those disposed to anger tend to overestimate their intelligence. Which appears to be associated with "narcissistic illusions."

The propensity to get mad at people isn't merely linked to narcissism and optimism. It also seems to be wrapped up in an "increased sense of control."

I do tend to adore how academics tend to wrap emotional issues in language drier than a sandal after a year in the desert.

"SAI (Subjectively Assessed Intelligence) is more substantially associated with personality than objective intelligence," say the researchers.

Can it really be that we're not very objective in judging our own intelligence?

That's such a damning indictment of, well, an American's joy in insisting: "I'm a smart person."

I'm verily stunned to imagine that people who aren't as smart as they think they are might lurch more easily toward venting their spleens over the innocent.

Oddly, the researchers also posit that there might be a little self-contradiction going on in the naturally angry.

"We suggest that there might be two faces of Trait-Anger: one related to anxiety and one to overconfidence," they say.

Is that truly a surprise?

I'd like to say that I haven't mentioned Alec Baldwin even once in this article.

I hope it doesn't make him mad.

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