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A New Study Has Good News For Those Who Like Dark Humor

If you find yourself constantly cracking wise during life’s darker moments, you may have a high IQ.

A new study in the journal Cognitive Processing found an interesting relationship between intelligence and dark humor.

Researchers from the Medical University of Vienna first administered a generalized IQ test to 156 people – both men and women at an average age of 33 and with numerous educational backgrounds. The participants were then tasked with reacting to 12 illustrations by German cartoonist Uli Stein. The subject of each cartoon was bleak or generally considered to be offensive, like one example that features a GP telling a pregnant woman: “To begin with, here is the good news: your child will always find a parking space.”

If you chuckled at that, chances are you enjoy dark humor, a trait often linked to people with gloomy personas but seldom associated with those who have a high IQ.

This new study, however, found that those who both understood and enjoyed the grim jokes not only had the highest IQ test results, but they were also better educated and scored lower for general aggression and negative moods.  

The researchers found that those who despised the dark jokes had average IQ scores, along with the highest levels of aggression and most powerful negative moods. Those who moderately understood and enjoyed the dark humor also had average IQ scores, but they also proved only moderately aggressive and had a relatively positive outlook on life.

In a nutshell, while the grim nature of dark humor may turn some people off, being able to see through the darkness and appreciate the cleverness of the joke – burgeoned by a generally positive attitude about life – demands a higher level of cognitive ability.

So don’t feel too guilty about giggling during a particularly grisly round of Cards Against Humanity – but maybe refrain from bragging about it.

h/t IFLScience


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