woman with a stain on her shirt
Julie Hambleton
Julie Hambleton
May 2, 2024 ·  3 min read

Do stains on your clothes may mean you have a higher level of intelligence?

There have been some articles floating around the internet claiming that if you often have stains on your clothes, it is a sign of intelligence. Well, sorry to all those clumsy Chloes out there who can’t seem to keep themselves stain-free, but this is not true. Here’s why.

Having Stains On Your Clothes Does Not Mean You Are Smarter

Let’s get right to it: There is no scientific evidence that proves that having stains on your clothes in any way signifies that you are smarter than anyone else. It simply means I’m sorry to say, that you are somewhat clumsy and should maybe avoid wearing white. The articles in question claim that people who are more creative have “busier” minds, and therefore are preoccupied with other things than their food making it safely to their mouths. For this reason, they say intelligent people often find themselves with stains on their clothes. (1)

The Study

Each article claims to have based the information off of a “study” done by author Steve Johnson. In his book “Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation”, Johnson talks about a neuroscience experiment done by Robert Thatcher. The study references that creative people often have somewhat cluttered brains, and creativity is one sign of intelligence. (2) The quote reads:

“The more unorganized your brain is, the more intelligent you are.”

Not once does he mention clumsy-ness or people who have more stains on their clothes. For some reason, however, the authors of these articles chose to draw these conclusions.

You Can’t Believe Everything You Read On The Internet

Essentially, the authors of these various articles claim that people with more stains on their clothes are more intelligent because their brains are preoccupied with other, “more important” things. This claim is not based on any science, it is a conclusion that they made based on someone’s study on creativity, disorganized brains, and intelligence. 

They say it is something called “feedforward”, which they say is the brain’s ability to perform a coordination action for a set task. In this case, they are talking about the action of moving food or drink to your mouth.

“You want to raise a glass to your lips, your brain estimates in advance how heavy the glass is going to be, how much fluid is still inside is and how your hand has to hold the glass and how fast it can be moved so nothing gets spilled onto you, when you drink it,” they write. “People who have problems with this feedforward are often very intelligent and mentally dealing with more important things than the glass that’s going to spill in a moment.”

Again, we are going to put the big NOPE stamp on this and tell you that this is not true. Are you distracted? Likely. A touch clumsy? Yes. More intelligent than anyone else? No, at least not because of this mishap.

In conclusion, do you know what is a sign of intelligence? Not blindly believing everything you read on the internet. This is an excellent reminder that we need to source-check when reading internet articles and look into the “facts” for ourselves before accepting it blindly as the truth.


  1. Intelligent People Are More Likely To Have Stains On Their Clothes.” Archive
  2. Fake News: NO Scientific Proof Intelligent People Are More Likely To Have Stains On Their Clothes.” Lead Stories. Maarten Schenk. November 29, 2018.