Humor

Here are three jokes to start you off. Have you heard about the farmer who counted his 196 cows but when he rounded them up he had 200? Or what about the dyslexic devil worshiper who sold his soul to Santa? I wondered why the baseball was getting bigger- then it hit me!

Do you normally make people laugh and are you good at telling jokes? Doing those things requires a lot of skill and intelligence. After all, if you make or invent jokes like the ones above, you have the ability to see some unusual connection and can make a funny simile or metaphor. This is where creativity comes in because you have to be intelligent enough to join two different ideas together which introduces a funny surprise.

Then, the actual telling of the joke requires a lot of skill and intelligence. You have to be able to judge first of all whether the listeners will actually appreciate it and understand it. Then you have to watch your pacing, emphasis and build suspense. Then you have to deliver the punch line with expert timing.

Yes, you are right. Humorous people are more intelligent because all that requires pretty smart thinking. It also makes you more attractive as a mating partner. Researchers at the University of New Mexico have confirmed that humorous people are indeed more intelligent.

University of New Mexico research study

The researchers asked 400 students (200 men and 200 women) to take part in the study. They devised various tests on their abstract reasoning abilities, their verbal intelligence and also their ability to produce humorous puns. Their conclusions were that that being humorous was indeed an indicator of their level of intelligence. It also gave them the added bonus of having better chances of finding sexual partners. This latter feature was more marked for the males.

Why verbal intelligence is a humor marker

Anyone who has a high level of verbal intelligence loves puns, playing with words, inventing words and generally being creative with language. This is an essential element in humor. The making of new connections can be extended to being more creative in the workplace because it can establish a fertile environment for innovation. It is generally true that people are more inspired when they are relaxed.

“Humor can be used to ease social tensions, to indicate friendly intent, and to strengthen social bonds.” – Paul E. McGhee in Humor Development – Toward A Life Span Approach

The role of humor in mating

How many times have you seen that a sense of humor is a much sought after quality when looking for a partner? All you have to do is to look at the Personals section in any magazine or online dating service.

The University of New Mexico research indicates that humor can be a decisive element, among others, when it comes to finding a partner. Humor also helps to reduce tension. They also found that men tended to be better at producing funny captions when they were asked to label cartoons. It seems that men are more keenly aware of the value of humor in making them more attractive sexual partners. Women appreciate humor produced by men and tend to laugh and smile more when men are making the jokes. Men appreciate the effect their humor had on women.

“A good sense of humor is sexually attractive, perhaps because it reveals intelligence, creativity, and other ‘good genes’ or ‘good parent’ traits.” – Greengross and Miller, University of New Mexico

Comedians are more intelligent than college students

Another research project conducted at the UNM found that comedians were using a wider range of skills and intelligence than college students. The comedians were using social skills in dealing with club owners and audiences in addition to their ability to produce humorous dialogues. They were also showing a high level of dedication and ambition to succeed in a very competitive career.

The role of humor in our lives must never be underestimated. Just think of how many speakers have striven to sway their audiences by always telling a joke when they start speaking. If you can make them laugh, you have already won half the battle. In the workplace humor can be a bonding tool, social lubricant, and build trust. If you have a good sense of humor, you are more likely to be intelligent and successful in life.

Have you heard the one about…..?

Featured photo credit: Laughing at the beach/Craig Cochrane via flickr.com

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