The study, led by Ulrike Wilienger of the Medical University of Vienna, recently surveyed a mix of 156 men and women from different backgrounds and ages. The report, published in the journal Cognitive Process, concluded that those with a dark sense of humor had higher IQs.
Study participants took verbal and non-verbal IQ tests and had to answer general questions about their mood and level of aggression.
After the tests were completed, the researchers asked the group to evaluate satirical cartoons from German cartoonist Uli Stein’s Black Book. They had to rate their enjoyment of 12 dark scenarios.
One of the cartoons showed two people in the morgue, with a doctor lifting a body sheet; in the text, a woman says: “Of course it’s my husband – anyway, what detergent did you use to make it so white?”
the British Psychological Society Research Digest Blog found that the study found three types of people, those with a “sicker” sense of humor performed better on tests and were better educated; they were also less aggressive.
Those who did not find the cartoons entertaining scored lower on the IQ test and had higher levels of aggression.
The research report Lily: “The most surprising result is that the subjects who display the highest values with regard to the preference and understanding of black humor display high values with regard to intelligence, have levels of education higher and show the lowest values for mood disorders and aggression.”