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Having a Dark Sense of Humor Might Just Mean You're Really Smart

Joke's on everyone else.
IMAGE New York Public Library
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Do you laugh at jokes about death, disease, and destruction? Do people sometimes get a little quiet and maybe even offended at your twisted humor? Take pity on them, because they just might not be as smart as you. New research suggests that people who love dark, sick jokes score higher on intelligence.

A new study, published in the journal Cognitive Processing, worked 156 participants, and had them rate cartoons that contained sick humor in The Black Book by Uli Stein. Researchers at the Medical University of Vienna had participants rate whether they understood the joke, whether they thought it was good, and whether they found it surprising, vulgar, or interesting. They also measured them on traits like verbal and nonverbal intelligence, mood disturbance, and aggressiveness.

The study was small, but the results will vindicate anyone who has been told "too soon" after making a joke. People who understood and enjoyed the dark humor also scored higher on both verbal and nonverbal intelligence. They were also more likely to have higher levels of education, and more likely to score low on aggression and mood disturbance. And those results were controlled for factors like age and gender.

So why is there an association between dark humor and intelligence? The researchers say it may be because it takes both cognitive and emotional skills to understand jokes and get their humor. And since dark humor is especially complex, it takes high intelligence and low aggression to understand that twisted jokes are just that—jokes—and are not to be taken too seriously.

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This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com.
* Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors.

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