Not everyone can take a joke, and even fewer can take a twisted joke. However, if you’re one of the few who laugh in the face of the grim and macabre, we have good news for you. According to a new study, a love for dark humor could be a side effect of increased intelligence.

The small study, conducted by researchers from the University of Vienna, found that individuals who preferred dark humor tended to score higher on tests measuring verbal and nonverbal intelligence, Town and Country Magazine reported. Those who enjoyed dark humor were also more likely to have higher levels of education, and scored low on tests measuring aggression and mood disturbances.

“These results support the hypothesis that humour processing involves cognitive as well as affective components and suggest that these variables influence the execution of frame-shifting and conceptual blending in the course of humour processing,” the study concluded.

Read: A Changed Sense Of Humor May Be An Early Sign Of Dementia

For the study, the team had 156 adults rate black humor cartoons, in addition to being measured for their verbal and nonverbal intelligence, mood disturbance and aggressiveness. The study defined dark humor as a kind of humour that treats sinister subjects like death, disease, deformity, handicap or warfare with bitter amusement. For example, one of the cartoons pictured a doctor explaining the results of a medical test to a pregnant couple, telling the expectant parents, “To begin with, here is the good news: Your child will always find an excellent parking space.”

Your sense of humor may be a reflection of your intelligence. Photo Courtesy of Pixabay

Result showed a common trend begin to take shape. Low black humor preference and moderate understanding of the jokes was associated with average nonverbal and verbal intelligence, along with high mood disturbance and high aggressiveness. On the other hand, high black humor preference and high understanding of the jokes was associated with higher nonverbal and verbal intelligence, no mood disturbance, and low aggressiveness.

However, if you experience a sudden affiliation for dark humor that didn't exist when you were younger, this may be a sign of something more sinister than high intelligence. According to a 2015 study, a sudden change in sense of could be a harbinger of the onset of dementia. In the study, individuals who began to experience signs of dementia showed a favor for slapstick comedy, tragic events, and other scenarios that they did not normally find funny, while simultaneously losing interest in higher forms of comedy such as satire. However, the exact reason for the shift in humor is not completely clear.

Source: Willinger U, Hergovich A, Schmoeger M, et al. Cognitive and emotional demands of black humour processing: the role of intelligence, aggressiveness and mood. Cognitive Processing . 2017

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