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Dark Sense of Humor Linked to High Intelligence

Photo Credit: Pexels

People who appreciate taboo jokes and other forms of black humor show higher levels of intelligence.

Researchers (at the Medical University of Vienna) have found that the enjoyment of so-called ‘gallows humor’ (grim and ironic humor) is linked to high levels of both verbal and nonverbal intelligence.  

They also found that participants who appreciated such jokes tend to be less aggressive than those with a more conventional sense of humor.



Participants who achieved higher IQs in the intelligence tests enjoyed black humor more than those with lower intelligence scores.

Even though black humor frequently contains violent or aggressive references, those who appreciate it the most appear to exhibit less aggressive tendencies than those who do not enjoy it.

The researchers suggest that a higher level of aggression can interfere with a person’s ability to appreciate humor. They explain that, “Seemingly, only those subjects who have no aggressive feelings towards others as well as no mood disturbance such as dysphoric or depressive mood can afford or get away with playful exposure in the course of black humor processing.”

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