An Investigation of Self-Rated Cues Believed to Influence the Judgment of Intelligence in a Zero-Acquaintance Context


  • The authors are grateful to Shoshana Cohen, Sharon Wong, Evelyn Tong, Sanna Balsari-Palsule, and Wan Wing for their assistance in data collection.

Viren Swami, Department of Psychology, University of Westminster, 309 Regent Street, London W1B 2UW, UK. E-mail:


This study examined participants' perceptions of the cues they believed to be important when making intelligence judgments in zero-acquaintance contexts. In total, 467 British participants rated 29 items for how important they were when making judgments of intelligence and completed scales measuring their personality, self-assessed intelligence, and demographics. A factor analysis showed that the 29 intelligence cues could be reduced to 4 factors: Physical Cues, Nonphysical Cues, Adornments, and Knowledge. There were no gender differences in ratings of these factors, and Knowledge was rated as the most important factor, followed by Nonphysical Cues, Adornments, and Physical Cues. These factors were weakly associated with participants' personality scores and self-assessed intelligence. Results are discussed in relation to the literature on intelligence judgments.