Why humor is important in our lives

In our society, we tend to see funny people simply as cool people. It’s nice to be around someone who cracks jokes and makes you feel good, right? Many times they do have an aura of informality, disorganized. But are these people intelligent? The answer might surprise you. 

Before we dive into the IQ issue, we would like to tell you that humor is actually pretty important in our life. Studies have found that it plays a key role in several aspects, like finding a love partner and being able to attract people. You want to progress in your career? Maybe you should skip that expensive course you have been looking at and search for an improvisation or clown meetup in your town. 

Because not everyone is capable of being as funny as they desire. It happens to me all the time, maybe to you too. You make a joke,...silence...no one laughs. Hard time.

Jokes seem to require great crystallized language, or in other words, great ability with language and also the capacity to think in a creative way and from incompatible or distant perspectives at the same time.

For example, let me try with you a joke. Imagine a king, going to a psychotherapist and saying “Please tell me what to do to rule the whole world” and the therapist answering “Do what I say and you will rule them all”. It is funny! Because it hides a paradox made up of incompatible intention and action. Well, that is key in humor and when you think about it, it seems more complicated than at first sight. 

Looking for intelligence in humor

Scientists decided some decades ago that being funny should be something to be researched, maybe they needed some fun. The mission was to measure how funny random people were and find out if intelligence played a role.

In a recent work from Harvard & Yale researchers, they subjected a big group of victim students to horrible tasks such as writing a funny sentence when given an image, or making up a story after a strange combination of words like “roofless house”. 

They also hired 3 judges whose job was to evaluate all funny things the students created and rank them by funniness. Afterwards, they administered to each student various IQ tests in order to check if there was any relationship between their IQs and how funny people were. 

Humor seems to be related to intelligence

What they found is that verbal fluency in specific and general intelligence as a whole were pretty good predictors of humor. To get to this result, they measured verbal fluency in two forms, first with a vocabulary test and then with a synonyms test. And they also measured their raw intelligence, also called fluid intelligence, with Culture Free IQ Tests. By the way, you can do that test right now with us for a great price and discover your IQ!

So the next time you encounter funny people, look at them in a different light. They are not that silly always the unserious person, but maybe a highly intelligent individual who is able to look at things from different perspectives and who has great verbal skills. Could be very intelligent, be alert!