Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

Got a dark sense of humour? You're probably a genius

morticia.jpg

Raise your hand if you’ve ever left friends horrified during a game of Cards Against Humanity, cackled at a loved one’s misfortune, or been met with awkward stares and a very frosty silence after delivering a close-to-the-bone punch line.

We see your hands, ladies – and we feel your pain.


Read more: Gin lovers are probably all psychopaths, say scientists


While being the office’s answer to Morticia Addams may feel like a thankless task sometimes, scientists have now confirmed what we suspected all along; a dark and twisted sense of humour is a mark of superior intelligence.

And it also indicates that a person is less likely to be violent or aggressive, too.

A team of psychologists conducted a study which allowed them to take a closer look at the effects and benefits of gallows humour (which they defined as the “kind of humour that treats sinister subjects like death, disease, deformity, handicap or warfare with bitter amusement and presents such tragic, distressing or morbid topics in humorous terms”).

To do this, they asked 156 participants to rate their comprehension and enjoyment of 12 black humour cartoons taken from The Black Book by Uli Stein.

Those partaking in the study then completed a series of verbal and non-verbal IQ tests, before answering a series of questions about their mood, aggressive tendencies, and educational background.


Read more: Creative people are more dishonest, science says


The results clearly showed that intelligence and understanding of the cartoons were tightly linked; subjects who scored highest on both verbal and non-verbal intelligence were also most likely to say that they got the joke, and, furthermore, that they actually found it funny.

Happy New Year from us to you

A photo posted by Cards Against Humanity (@cardsagainsthumanity) on

Perhaps more intriguingly, the same people were also toward the lower end of the spectrum on aggression and didn’t report especially negative moods.

Professor Ulrike Willinger, who led the research, noted that this “refutes the somewhat commonly held belief that people who like black humour tend to be grumpy and a little prone to sadism.”


Read more: Friends with your ex? Science says you’re a psychopath


Instead, calmer, happier, and smarter people tend to be more likely to recognise and enjoy the “playful fiction” of a truly twisted joke.

It’s worth pointing out that a separate study has found that dark humour is most prevalent in those who have experienced trauma in their lives, as it acts as a coping mechanism – and laughter has long been proven to increase wellbeing too.

So, the next time something colossally awful happens in the world (we’re looking at you, Trump), it’s best to stare the darkness down, find something funny in it all, throw back your head, and laugh.

You are an evil genius, after all.

Related

rexfeatures_2480898a.jpg

Gin lovers, we have distressing news for you…

face-psychology.jpg

Appearances matter: this is how people judge you based on your face

iStock_84575683_LARGE.jpg

How to break the common bad habits that complicate our lives

Comments

More

BMA votes to make abortion legal in England and Wales

It is still an offence punishable by life in prison

by Amy Swales
28 Jun 2017

36 fashionable Irish baby names taking the world by storm

These melodic baby names all hail from the emerald isle…

by Kayleigh Dray
28 Jun 2017

Rosé ice cream is the summer treat we all deserve

The latest food fad combines two of our favourite things

by Elle Griffiths
28 Jun 2017

Power plant makes girls compete for internships in bikini competition

We can't even.

by Sarah Biddlecombe
28 Jun 2017

Original and imaginative: the perks of people who like being alone

Those who are unafraid of being single have 'greater self-esteem in relationships'

by Anna Brech
28 Jun 2017

The Department of Education reveals how much less it pays women

And teachers have responded

by Sarah Biddlecombe
28 Jun 2017

Lauren Graham is so ready for the Gilmore Girls Christmas film

The actor is game for playing Lorelai in another installment

by Elle Griffiths
28 Jun 2017

High-street chemist finally slashes price of morning-after pill

The chain has been hailed as “trailblazing” for its attitude to sexual health

by Amy Swales
28 Jun 2017

USA Gymnastics apologises in wake of sexual abuse scandal

The governing body failed to act when coaches were suspected of abusing underage athletes

by Anna Brech
28 Jun 2017

New law cracks down on domestic violence by UK citizens overseas

Legislation will show perpetrators "there is nowhere to hide"

by Anna Brech
28 Jun 2017