Why Goofy People Are Actually Smarter Than Average

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Photo: Flickr/infrarad

Yes, funny people are smarter than average:To explain the pervasive role of humour in human social interaction and among mating partner preferences, Miller (2000a) proposed that intentional humour evolved as an indicator of intelligence. To test this, we looked at the relationships among rater-judged humour, general intelligence, and the Big Five personality traits in a sample of 185 collegeage students (115 women, 70 men). General intelligence positively predicted rater-judged humour, independent of the Big Five personality traits. Extraversion also predicted rater judged humour, although to a lesser extent than general intelligence. General intelligence did not interact with the sex of the participant in predicting rating scores on the humour production tasks. The current study lends support to the prediction that effective humour production acts as an honest indicator of intelligence in humans. In addition, extraversion, and to a lesser extent, openness, may reflect motivational traits that encourage humour production.

Source: “humour as a Mental Fitness Indicator” from Evolutionary Psychology – 2008. 6(4): 652-666

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