Liking dark and twisted jokes could be sign of intelligence

Thursday 19 January 2017 16:00
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Understanding a joke is a measure of intelligence for a reason - it requires speed of thought to understand why a word in an odd context is humorous and react to it instantaneously.

However, it's now thought that if you love dark humour, you're more likely to be a clever clogs.

A new study, published in the journal Cognitive Processing, tested whether intelligence affected appreciation of black humour.

It did.

A team of researchers, led by Ulrike Willinger at the Medical University of Vienna, asked 156 participants to rate their understanding and enjoyment of 12 cartoons.

These were taken from 'The Black Book' by Uli Stein - an anthology of dark humour cartoons.

It's described on Stein's website as:

Abyssal, deep black humor beyond all limits of taste.

Participants also completed basic tests of their verbal and non-verbal IQ and answered questions about their background.

Researchers identified three distinct groups of participants - the highest sick humour appreciation was found in the group with the highest verbal and non-verbal IQ and the better education.

Willinger and her team said the findings suggested understanding and enjoying black humour is a "complex information-processing task".

The study, among 156 participants with an average age of 33, is not the first of its kind to reach this sort of conclusion.

In addition, humour can be a coping mechanism for psychological injury - a study among journalists exposed to trauma found a correlation with black humour use, while studies have found that laughter can lead to immediate increases in heart rate, respiratory rate, respiratory depth and oxygen consumption - possibly even helping decrease stress hormones.

In short, it could be in your interest to find tasteless jokes funny.

HT British Psychological Society Digest

More: 6 jokes only people with a dark sense of humour will find funny

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