Monday, January 30, 2017

Black joke, intelligence, and the mood

Just recently, I wrote about the relationship between style of humor and mental health. In a study, self-defeating humor was associated with lowered self-esteem. Then, what about the receivers?

My past entry: Style of humor

A recent study examined how participants responded to a black joke in accordance with their level of intelligence. As a result, people with high intelligence with stable mood were likely to appreciate the black humor and enjoyed it. In contrast, participants with negative mood could not enjoy the black joke in spite of the comprehension of the joke.

The Guardian: Black humour is sign of high intelligence, study suggests

The researchers suggested that understanding sick jokes need relatively complex processing ability as well as functional mood state. Therefore, smart persons are more likely to appreciate black jokes. The result of the present study is consistent with previous ones suggesting that the low mood deprives persons of humor appreciation.

Research Digest: If you like sick jokes, maybe it’s because you’re just so smart

However, the authors did not mention contradictory results in past studies. For example, genius people are likely to become depressed and have a higher risk of suicide if other factors are modified. Also, reading jokes are often recommended to people with depression to elevate their mood. I have a couple of examples in which black jokes eliminated the patient's  hopeless thought.

Therefore, I do not believe the result in the association between lowered mood with the level of appreciation to sick jokes. In contrast, the correlation between high intelligence and the ability to interpret sick jokes is highly reliable. In the last US Presidential vote campaign, Obama, Clinton, and Trump threw several black jokes to beat the opponent. It is true that joke lovers are smart, regardless of their personality.

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