Do you laugh at jokes that completely disgust others around you? That might be a sign of intelligence according to a new study published in the journal Cognitive Processing.
Past studies have concluded that humor is connected with both cognitive and emotional intelligence. Jokes require mental dexterity. You have to be able to rapidly process the blending of opposing frameworks, wordplay, and other complicated linguistic situations to be in on the joke. This study sought to find correlations between "black humor processing, intellectual capacities, mood disturbance, and aggressiveness."
Ulrike Willinger and researchers at the Medical University of Vienna found a correlation between black humor appreciation and intelligence in their study of 156 individuals. The subjects rated their understanding of black humor cartoons and took verbal and non-verbal IQ tests. They were shown cartoons from The Black Book by Uli Stein. That's a book that describes itself as containing "abyssal, deep black humor beyond all limits of taste."
One cartoon used shows a man standing in a telephone booth with the caption, "Here is the answering machine of the self-help association for Alzheimer patients. If you still remember your topic, please speak after the tone."
Researchers found subjects fit into one of three groups. Those who appreciated or processed black humor best were in a group that had the highest verbal and non-verbal IQ, as well as higher education levels. That group also tended to have "no mood disturbance and low aggressiveness." They didn't find any correlation between age or gender.
Part of the explanation for what they found was that enjoying black humor is a "complex information-processing task." They also concluded that "emotional instability and higher aggressiveness apparently lead to decreased levels of pleasure when dealing with black humour. "