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A Twisted Sense of Humor May Be A Sign of Intelligence

dark humor

So here’s a joke:

man walks into a rooftop bar and takes a seat next to another guy. “What are you drinking?” he asks the guy. “Magic beer,” he says. “Oh, yeah? What’s so magical about it?” Then he shows him: He swigs some beer, dives off the roof, flies around the building, then finally returns to his seat with a triumphant smile. “Amazing!” the man says. “Lemme try some of that!” The man grabs the beer. He downs it, leaps off the roof —and plummets 15 stories to the ground. The bartender shakes his head. “You know, you’re a real jerk when you’re drunk, Superman.”

If that made you lol, then chances are you smart, you really smart…

Matter fact… maybe you a genius.

Why? Well according to a January 2017 study published in Cognitive processing Journal, individuals who enjoyed dark humor tested significantly higher on scales of verbal and non-verbal intelligence than those offended by off-color jokes. A research team led by Ulrike Willinger at the Medical University of Vienna gathered a sample comprised of 156 adults and recorded their responses to 12 dark humor cartoons taken from German cartoonist, Uli Stein’s “The Black Book“. Dark humor (also referred as gallows humor) is defined as being “a kind of humor that treats sinister subjects like death, disease, deformity, handicap or warfare with bitter amusement and presents such tragic, distressing or morbid topics in humorous terms.”

The study rated participants across a number of variables including dark humor comprehension, dark humor preference, aggression, mood disruption, and verbal and non-verbal intelligence. For each cartoon, individuals were asked to rate on a 4-point scale the difficulty of understanding the joke, the vulgarity of it, the level of surprise by the punchline and how well it fit, the novelty of it, their interest in the subject matter, and the amount of pleasure they derived from it. The researchers found that the results pitted participants into 3 highly correlated groups.

  • Group 1: showed moderate black humor comprehension, moderate black humor preference, low aggressiveness, average verbal and non-verbal intelligence and low mood disturbance.
  • Group 2: showed moderate black humor comprehension, low black humor preference, high mood disturbance, average verbal and non-verbal intelligence, and high aggressiveness .
  • Group 3: showed high black humor comprehension and preference, high verbal and non-verbal intelligence, no mood disturbance and low aggressiveness.

Researchers concluded that the cognitive and emotional complexities involved in processing dark humor allowed people of higher intelligence and calm temperament to better recognize and appreciate the comedy in otherwise upsetting and disturbing content matter. Higher intelligence also correlates with a better ability to use humor as a coping mechanism for dealing with trauma, tragedy and stress.

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Psychologists have long attributed a relationship between humor and intelligence and many theories assert the key concept behind humor is the recognition of incongruity. Humor itself has been described as the resolving of incongruities or a “reconciliation of paradox”. It is believed that much of the same right brain skills involved in problem solving are also required to process and understand jokes. Smarter people are able to process the morbid and disturbing contexts of dark humor without being put off by it and hence comprehend the meaning of the joke enough to enjoy it.

Here are descriptions of the 12 cartoons used in the study. See if you find them humorous or not.





Santa Claus, standing on a long, thin tail and having some drops of blood under and on both boots, has been giving Christmas presents to a penguin, a dog and a cat, standing in front of him. Having distributed a fish, a dog biscuit and a tuna tin to them, he still has a gift wrapped cheese left in his hands.

Santa Claus: ‘And who put the cheese on his letter to me?’


Death, impersonated by a skeleton in a hooded coat holding an hourglass and a sickle stands at the doorstep of a man’s apartment.

The man: ‘I am sorry, we do not die at the front door.’


Up on a veritable height a man stands at the outer windowsill of an apartment block. Having a noose laid around his neck and a fixed knife directed to his stomach he puts a gun against his head. Beside him on the sill lies an emptied bottle labelled as poison and an envelope. Inside the apartment are two police officers, one of them pointing at the man saying:

‘Hey – I know this guy from elementary school. I remember that we called him Eberhard, the efficient.’


A man scratching his chin apparently out of confusion is clutching the receiver of a public phone box. The voice coming from the receiver says:

‘Here is the answering machine of the self-help association for Alzheimer patients. If you still remember your topic, please speak after the tone.’


A general practitioner is explaining the result of a medical test to a couple with her being pregnant:

‘To begin with, here is the good news: Your child will always find a parking space.’


Four men are standing high up on a bungee jumping platform. One of them is holding a rope fixed on the one end to the platform. The other end of the rope is tied around a leg prosthesis that is turned upside down. One of them is telling the others:

‘I didn’t examining his certificate of disability in all detail.’


A group of surgeons in an operating theatre is in the middle of what looks like a heart surgery. Without a sign of warning the heart springs out of the patient’s body right into one of the surgeons’ faces. Another surgeon remarks:

‘That’s the most amazing case of tissue rejection I’ve ever seen!’


In a morgue a physician is lifting a white cover sheet off a body with a woman standing beside him. The woman confirms:

‘Sure, that’s my husband – anyway, which washing powder did you use to get that so white?’


Two women, apparently real chatterboxes, are having a chat over coffee.

The first one: ‘He is crippled, she is crippled and what’s more they are going to have a baby.’

The other one: ‘I do hope things straighten themselves out.’


In an operating theatre a surgeon has one arm deep in an opened body. Another surgeon explains the situation to a man in a suit:

‘The autopsy is finished; he is only looking for his wrist watch.’


A dentist is on a root canal job with the patient being completely tensed up due to pain. At the back of the patient’s chair the tip of a rotating dental drill, apparently having worked its way through the patient’s mouth and neck comes into sight. The dentist asks his patient:

‘Does it hurt?’


After having committed suicide the body of a man hangs from a light fixture in a living room, hung by his tie. His wife enters the room with a friend and looking at him she complains:

‘And once again the green tie with the blue suit. Come on, what have I been nagging him about for all these years?’

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6 twisted jokes to make you LOLOLOL.


Q: What’s white on the top and black on the bottom?

A: [ads_blur_spoiler]Society.[/ads_blur_spoiler]


Q: What’s the difference between John Wayne and Jack Daniels?

A: [ads_blur_spoiler]Jack Daniels is still killing Indians.[/ads_blur_spoiler]


Q: What’s the difference between a garbanzo bean and a chick pea?

A: [ads_blur_spoiler]I wouldn’t pay 40 bucks to have a garbanzo bean on my face.[/ads_blur_spoiler]


Q: Who’s the opposite of Christopher Reeves?

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Q: How many potatoes does it take to kill an Irishman?

A: [ads_blur_spoiler]Zero.[/ads_blur_spoiler]


Q: What did Kermit the Frog say at Jim Henson’s funeral?

A: [ads_blur_spoiler]Nothing.[/ads_blur_spoiler]


Willinger, U., Hergovich, A., Schmoeger, M., Deckert, M., Stoettner, S., Bunda, I., Witting, A., Seidler, M., Moser, R., Kacena, S. and Jaeckle, D., 2017. Cognitive and emotional demands of black humour processing: the role of intelligence, aggressiveness and mood. Cognitive processing, pp.1-9.

Hauck, W.E. and Thomas, J.W., 1972. The relationship of humor to intelligence, creativity, and intentional and incidental learning. The journal of experimental education, 40(4), pp.52-55.

Source: If You Laugh at These Dark Jokes, You’re Probably a Genius
Source: Can Psychology Explain Humor?
Source: Intelligence & Humor: Are Smarter People Funnier?
Source: Cognitive and Emotional Demands of Dark Humor Processing: The Role of Intelligence, Aggressiveness and Mood
ource: If you have a dark sense of humor you might be more intelligent


Jetta Moon
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