Last year, reports emerged that a swearing habit is proof of intellect. But we fucking knew that. Well here’s more good news for Midults and their little grey cells. According to a team of eminent psychologists from Vienna, a dark sense of humour is actually a sign of intelligence.
We are not talking about psychopaths pulling the wings off butterflies, giggling all the while. We are talking about having the smarts and the heart to flip the frailty in every situation towards something we can identify with. It’s about connection really. Nervous giggles made kosher. When we looked the shitty stuff in the eye and found – through the surreal or the ridiculous – common ground. A shared understanding. Because it’s got to be funny. It has to be.
In the journal Cognitive Processing, the psychologists defined ‘dark humour’ as ‘a 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.’
The psychologists asked participants in the study to rate their understanding of a set of cartoons by dark artist Uli Stein. Then they also gave them a series of IQ and EQ tests. And it turns out intelligence was directly linked to an understanding of the shady cartoons. The subjects who scored highest on both verbal and non-verbal intelligence were also most likely to say that they got the joke, and that they even found it amusing.
So yes there are dark times ahead. But at least we are going to have a laugh.