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Most of us would never imagine such a thing. Whenever we conjure up visions of the greatest minds of all time as being serious and boring – we would never consider them to be one of the biggest cut-ups in their class – but that could very well be the case.
Everyone has been in a class at school, and there are those few students who constantly blurt out a joke whenever there’s any silence. Some look down on “class clowns” as people who are seeking attention and immature.
Surprisingly enough, new studies suggest that a strong sense of humor skills is often an indicator of high intelligence. Researchers have indicated that kids with above-average general knowledge and verbal reasoning usually have a good sense of humor as well.
This means that the class clown from your school could become one of the greatest mathematicians of all time. Oddly enough, the same couldn’t be said of adults. The research team hasn’t found a similar link between high intelligence and humor with grown-ups.
Humor is a strong sign that your kid is intelligent
In this particular study, over 200 children were asked to write a caption for ten different cartoons. After compiling all of these captions, seven ‘humor experts’ were tasked with rating both the relevancy and funniness of every caption compared to its cartoon. Amazingly, the humor experts came up with a total of 30,380 individual ratings for these captions.
As the research team began comparing intelligence with humor performance, they noticed a clear pattern taking place. They discovered that general intelligence correlated very strongly with humor. The study concluded that intelligence levels were responsible for some 68% of the humor ability they witnessed among the children. More notably, they found that kids with both higher general knowledge and higher verbal reasoning skills were much funnier than their peers.
This research was not able to find this strong link between humor and intelligence in adults. Researchers emphasized not to underestimate how strongly culture played a role in this outcome.
While similar studies like this are primarily conducted in a Western society like the United States, this particular study was done with children from Turkey. This research group views Turkish culture as being a combination of Eastern and Western cultures.
Comedy and culture have a very complicated relationship
Culture plays more of a role with adults because it influences both intelligence and comedic beliefs. A hilarious joke in a given culture could fail miserably in another culture. Additionally, what some people see as cleverness in one country could have the opposite effect in a different society.
The big difference here is that adults see humor primarily as entertainment. However, kids use humor to be accepted by their peers. Therefore, humor is very different between children and adults.
The study’s goal was to assess the quality of humor made by kids but were evaluated by grown-ups. Teachers and parents must be aware that if a child is really funny, it’s very likely that they have extraordinary intelligence.