Science Proves Funny People Are More Intelligent

Science Proves Funny People Are More Intelligent

Do you consider yourself as funny? If you answered yes, that’s funny because you’re probably not funny. If you answered no, oh boy, are you funny!

Albert Einstein was also a funny man. Apparently, he was popular with the ladies. Who would have thought? He once quipped, “Any man who can drive safely while kissing a pretty girl is simply not giving the kiss the attention it deserves.”

Stephen Hawking is another brilliant, intelligent scientist who is also known for his sharp sense of humor. Coincidence? Probably not! It’s more likely that funny people are just plain smarter.

Why funny people are smarter

According to researchers Gil Greengross and Geoffrey Miller, both from the University of New Mexico, and Rod A. Martin from the University of Western Ontario, humor is a sign of underlying cognitive ability and fitness. This assertion was confirmed by an interesting study the trio did involving college students.


The researchers asked a group of college students to perform a humorous task by creating made-up profiles of people based on some basic information. The students then rated how funny the other study participant’s answers were, and then all participants were asked to complete tests of general intelligence, conscientiousness, openness, extraversion, sociability and neuroticism.

The study revealed that general intelligence was a strong predictor of humor, independent of the other variables. The funny guys and girls, those with a great sense of humor, tended to have better cognitive ability and more smarts.

Here’re more reasons why science says funny people are smarter:

1. They have higher IQ

A study published in the 1970s looked at 55 male and 14 female comedians and found that they consistently scored significantly higher on IQ tests than the average population.


Whereas the average IQ score in the general population is between 90 and 110, male comedians were found to score on average 138 and female comedians scored on average 126.

Need we say more?

2. They manifest greater creativity

People like Trevor Noah, Ellen DeGeneres and Amy Schumer who are funny in many different ways, are particularly gifted at satire. And satire demands a greater degree of intelligence to not only pull off, but also to appreciate. For example, it is not without good reasons that Amy Schumer’s parody sketch 12 Angry Men Inside Amy Schumer was voted one of the funniest sketches on television for a full year.

Schumer’s parody obviously required lots of creative ingenuity to write. But, it also calls for even more smarts and open-mindedness to enjoy and fully appreciate the underlying elements within it, such as the subtle jabs at the gender disparity prevalent in Hollywood.


William E. Hauck and John W. Thomas of Bucknell University conducted a research to study three variables: Creativity, intelligence, and a sense of humor. They found that while creativity and intelligence were independent of each other, humor related to both creativity and intelligence.

3. They have impressive reasoning ability and verbal skills

In a 2011 study, researchers at the University of New Mexico asked 400 psychology students to complete measures of abstract reasoning ability and verbal intelligence before writing captions for a series of New Yorker cartoons.

It emerged that the captions that were rated funnier were produced by the students who scored higher on tests of cognitive ability. Actually, students who specifically scored high on the test of verbal intelligence were found to be most likely to produce funny captions.

A follow up study out of the same university used a group of comedians to complete a similar procedure. Results showed that comedians not only produced more and funnier caption ideas than the students had, but also scored higher on the test of verbal intelligence.


Verbal intelligence is generally linked with overall intelligence.

4. They make new friends more easily

You must have noticed at some point that people who are openly funny tend to have more friends and make new ones relatively easily.

Maybe it’s because of their verbal intelligence, but people seem drawn to the funny types. So much so that the aforementioned University of New Mexico study of college students also found that the funnier students reported having had more sexual partners than their duller peers.

Of course, if you don’t have a knack for cracking people up, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re not intelligent – or that you’ll never attract a romantic partner. A good sense of humor is just one of many traits that signal above average intelligence.

Besides, if you are someone who rather appreciates humor more when others are the source of the funny instead of being the originator, that’s also a sign that you may have above-average intelligence.

More by this author

David K. William

David is a publisher and entrepreneur who tries to help professionals grow their business and careers, and gives advice for entrepreneurs.

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Science Says Silence Is Much More Important To Our Brains Than We Think

Science Says Silence Is Much More Important To Our Brains Than We Think

In 2011, the Finnish Tourist Board ran a campaign that used silence as a marketing ‘product’. They sought to entice people to visit Finland and experience the beauty of this silent land. They released a series of photographs of single figures in the nature and used the slogan “Silence, Please”. A tag line was added by Simon Anholt, an international country branding consultant, “No talking, but action.”

Eva Kiviranta the manager of the social media for said: “We decided, instead of saying that it’s really empty and really quiet and nobody is talking about anything here, let’s embrace it and make it a good thing”.

Finland may be on to something very big. You could be seeing the very beginnings of using silence as a selling point as silence may be becoming more and more attractive. As the world around becomes increasingly loud and cluttered you may find yourself seeking out the reprieve that silent places and silence have to offer. This may be a wise move as studies are showing that silence is much more important to your brains than you might think.

Regenerated brain cells may be just a matter of silence.


     A 2013 study on mice published in the journal Brain, Structure and Function used differed types of noise and silence and monitored the effect the sound and silence had on the brains of the mice.[1] The silence was intended to be the control in the study but what they found was surprising. The scientists discovered that when the mice were exposed to two hours of silence per day they developed new cells in the hippocampus. The hippocampus is a region of the brain associated with memory, emotion and learning.


    The growth of new cells in the brain does not necessarily translate to tangible health benefits. However, in this instance, researcher Imke Kirste says that the cells appeared to become functioning neurons.

    “We saw that silence is really helping the new generated cells to differentiate into neurons, and integrate into the system.”

    In this sense silence can quite literally grow your brain.

    The brain is actively internalizing and evaluating information during silence


      A 2001 study defined a “default mode” of brain function that showed that even when the brain was “resting” it was perpetually active internalizing and evaluating information.


      Follow-up research found that the default mode is also used during the process of self-reflection. In 2013, in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, Joseph Moran et al. wrote, the brain’s default mode network “is observed most closely during the psychological task of reflecting on one’s personalities and characteristics (self-reflection), rather than during self-recognition, thinking of the self-concept, or thinking about self-esteem, for example.

      “When the brain rests it is able to integrate internal and external information into “a conscious workspace,” said Moran and colleagues.

      When you are not distracted by noise or goal-orientated tasks, there appears to be a quiet time that allows your conscious workspace to process things. During these periods of silence, your brain has the freedom it needs to discover its place in your internal and external world.

      The default mode helps you think about profound things in an imaginative way.

      As Herman Melville once wrote,[2]


      “All profound things and emotions of things are preceded and attended by silence.”

      Silence relieves stress and tension.


        It has been found that noise can have a pronounced physical effect on our brains resulting in elevated levels of stress hormones. The sound waves reach the brain as electrical signals via the ear. The body reacts to these signals even if it is sleeping. It is thought that the amygdalae (located in the temporal lobes of the brain) which is associated with memory formation and emotion is activated and this causes a release of stress hormones. If you live in a consistently noisy environment that you are likely to experience chronically elevated levels of stress hormones.

        A study that was published in 2002 in Psychological Science (Vol. 13, No. 9) examined the effects that the relocation of Munich’s airport had on children’s health and cognition. Gary W. Evans, a professor of human ecology at Cornell University notes that children who are exposed to noise develop a stress response that causes them to ignore the noise. What is of interest is that these children not only ignored harmful stimuli they also ignored stimuli that they should be paying attention to such as speech. 

        “This study is among the strongest, probably the most definitive proof that noise – even at levels that do not produce any hearing damage – causes stress and is harmful to humans,” Evans says.[3]

        Silence seems to have the opposite effect of the brain to noise. While noise may cause stress and tension silence releases tension in the brain and body. A study published in the journal Heart discovered that two minutes of silence can prove to be even more relaxing than listening to “relaxing” music. They based these findings of changes they noticed in blood pressure and blood circulation in the brain.[4]

        Silence replenishes our cognitive resources.


          The effect that noise pollution can have on cognitive task performance has been extensively studied. It has been found that noise harms task performance at work and school. It can also be the cause of decreased motivation and an increase in error making.  The cognitive functions most strongly affected by noise are reading attention, memory and problem solving.

          Studies have also concluded that children exposed to households or classrooms near airplane flight paths, railways or highways have lower reading scores and are slower in their development of cognitive and language skills.

          But it is not all bad news. It is possible for the brain to restore its finite cognitive resources. According to the attention restoration theory when you are in an environment with lower levels of sensory input the brain can ‘recover’ some of its cognitive abilities. In silence the brain is able to let down its sensory guard and restore some of what has been ‘lost’ through excess noise.[5]



          Traveling to Finland may just well be on your list of things to do. There you may find the silence you need to help your brain. Or, if Finland is a bit out of reach for now, you could simply take a quiet walk in a peaceful place in your neighborhood. This might prove to do you and your brain a world of good.

          Featured photo credit: Angelina Litvin via


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