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
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.