Do you love a little dark joke? Same.
Not ones that punch down, not ones that purposefully further oppress minorities or stigmatise mental illness, that’s not my jam but making jokes about the relatives of mine that tragically died? Absolutely.
For many of us, there’s no better coping mechanism than making jokes about unforgettable traumas we’ve experienced and watching our loved ones squirm.
It turns out, for us little scamps, there is a reason behind this and it’s that we’re actually... very intelligent. I know, as if we weren’t annoying enough.
People with a darker sense of humour tend to be more intelligent
So, according to a study published in the paper Cognitive Processing, your reaction to dark humour can be an indicator of your overall intelligence.
In this paper, a team of psychologists found that people who appreciate dark humour tend to not only have higher IQ’s but also shower lower aggression and resist negative feeligns more effectively than people who shy away from it.
Researchers tested the correlation between a dark sense of humour and intellect by showing 156 people 12 bleak cartoons from The Black Book by German cartoonist Uli Stein. Participants then simply indicated whether they understood the jokes and whether they found it funny. Following IQ tests, questionnaires about their mood, aggressive tendencies and educational background, researchers were able to find correlations.
The study found that people that both comprehended and enjoyed the dark humour jokes tended to have higher intelligence and lower aggressive tendencies than those who did not. Additionally, those who didn’t appreciate the dark jokes showed the highest levels of aggression and the worst moods of the group. Whew!
Is dark humour actually helpful, though?
According to Claire Brummell, an expert in human behaviour, it can be very helpful in navigating trauma but only if we’re also actually addressing what we’ve been through.
Speaking to Patient UK, she said, “Dark humour is a tool that can be used to great effect while navigating some of the difficult times in our lives. However, it can also compromise our healing further.”
“As with most coping mechanisms in life, it’s how you use it that makes the difference. For example, we might go out drinking following a relationship break-up, which there is nothing wrong with.”
“However, becoming reliant on alcohol for escapism and comfort is when a problem arises. Likewise, dark humour can be funny and uplift our spirits, but overdoing it to a point where we push people away and refuse to accept what we’re going through, that can cause issues.”
Basically, we’re safe to keep joking but emotional support is essential, too.