Are You Smarter If You Enjoy Dark Humor?

Posted on January 24, 2017

Photo: flickr

In the journal Cognitive Processing, studies were carried out to test whether intelligence has any influence on appreciating dark humor, the type of jokes that make light of sensitive subjects like death or disease. The link between the two topics lies in the mental agility required for one to understand the meaning in dark humor as it involves a blend of odd context that are not usually paired together.

Past research has indicated that participants who scored the highest on verbal and nonverbal IQ were the ones that liked cartoons containing sick jokes the most. Studies from the Medical University of Vienna found results that agreed with observations. Led by Ulrike Willinger, these studies discovered that one group who displayed the highest appreciation for dark humor also were better educated, scored the highest for IQ, and scored lower for aggression and bad mood! It refutes the idea that people who like sick jokes tend to be more sadistic or grumpy.

Willinger and her team also found that the group who had the lowest appreciation for sick jokes had the most negative mood and highest aggression with only average intelligence scores. In addition, they found that the participants with moderate comprehension and appreciation for sick jokes also had average intelligence scores, but have a generally greater positive mood and moderate aggression scores.

These findings suggest that jokes involving dark humor involves some complex information processing. It seems that appreciating such jokes actually takes a good amount of intelligence and good mood!

Source material from Research Digest

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