Educational Methods and Theories
Humor & Amusement

Is a sense of humor a sign of intelligence?

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Answered 2014-02-28 15:48:59
Good Humor is CreativeIn order to produce good humor, one has to be very creative and original. These qualities require you to be extra smart. I think Good Humor = High intelligence. Humor Equals Intelligence?No, a sense of humor is nothing more than an emotion of joy. It has no relevance to intelligence, that which is the application of knowledge. Actually I believe that a good sense of humor is either a sign of incredible intelligence or incredible stupidity.

Thoughts on the Research

A lot of research has actually been done on this topic, and most shows a high correlation between humor and intelligence. It depends on how you define intelligence, of course (the studies correlate with IQ tests), and what *kind* of humor you are talking about. For instance, "body" humor, traditional to 14-year-old boys, is the kind of humor that laughs at the word "fart." ... this is not correlated with intelligence. So, sure... some humor is related, and some is not. There is also topical humor, that you would only get if you know a lot about a certain topic. ... so, only if you compared people from the same background would you find out whether that kind of humor had the same correlations.

I think, actually, that there are probably humor levels just like there are intelligence levels, and that only at the highest levels (of both) will you be able to get the subtle nuances of communication through humor... but at lower levels, there are a lot of more obvious forms that are still perfectly clear.

Another thought:To me, the main requirement for a sense of humor is the ability to not take everything seriously, to be light-hearted. This is not a level of intelligence, but a state of mind. Things are funnier when you are relaxed. Things are funnier when you are not insecure, things are funnier when you are willing to be humble enough to express self-deprecating humor that is not just a symptom of depression and a plea for denial from your audience. Life is funnier when you can see the humor in reality. Life is funnier when you are happy, joyous and free.

a sense of humor is how funny you find things and how funny you are

Sometimes it means intelligence.

First, I think we should break what is currently referred as a "sense of humor" into two parts:

1. A sense of humor is the ability to get a joke, laugh at things and "some other third thing" [-- last bit borrowed from Spongebob Square pants]. Essentially the "sensing" of humor.

2. A source of humor is the ability to make a joke, quip, pun or some fourth thing. This can also involve sensing humor and emphasizing it like airline food.

I think you can can have #1 alone or #1 and #2 together. Having #2 alone seems unlikely. How would you know it's funny?

Some humor is the ability to find unusual relationships between things. Noticing the amusing relationship between certain opposites requires keen observation. After all, many, many people have said "jumbo shrimp," "military intelligence" and "little big" and never noticed how silly they sound.

Sometimes it's the use of double meanings.

There is also the twisting of meaning in a particular context such as this Douglas Adams exchange:

Ford Prefect: It's unpleasantly like being drunk.

Arthur Dent: What wrong with that?

Ford: You go ask a glass of water.

The point is, IMHO, that recognizing these relationships is a form of intelligence. No one questions the intelligence of physicists, engineers or mathematicians when they notice relationships and use them. Galileo noticing that 2 objects of different weights fall at the same speed is brilliant. But Douglas Adams realizing that using "being drunk" in a very different context is a joke.

Humor requires a pretty deep (if empirical) knowledge of human Psychology. A fairly broad knowledge of language. Syntax, semantics and definitions (especially alternate definitions, synonyms and antonyms and parsing). A knowledge of what's funny and what isn't.

However, knowledge itself it NOT intelligence. It is the ability to use the knowledge in new and unobvious ways. Comedians certainly do that.

Whit and unrehearsed improv are the immediate sensing humor and sourcing of it. Is improvised music a kind of intelligence? It certainly gets respect.

Maybe it's the perceived value of the result. Galileo recognized something fundamental about the way the universe works. The other only made someone laugh. I love to laugh and I believe sourcing humor is one of the greatest gifts one person can give another. But it don't get no respect.

The audience (the sensors of humor) must also have the same knowledge base and intelligence in order to get the jokes. But the sourcer notices them first and brings them to the sensors' attentions. So, in effect, sourcers are teachers and the sensors are students. Ergo comedy is educational. Perhaps that's why it is frowned upon when it should be smiled upon. Being smart is elitist. "Smart" even has an un-smart meaning, "Don't get smart with me, missy," which is a self referential contradiction in terms which itself is not considered humorous. Sometimes the humor can be appreciated on two levels. Sometimes it requires plays on domain, temporal or locational specific information. Eg: Swift is funny in general, but being cognizant of the political situation at the time adds to the humor.

But theirs also the existence of unintentional Like people on the internet who don't realize there funny because they don't notice they're mistakes. Or don't even know they've made mistakes. And some think they're funnier then you. But aren't. Some people write bad even though there's spelling chequers in most Web Browsers.

And don't get me stahted on self defacating humor.

Some people like Monty Python and Dave Barry are so funny that even when they really say stupid things you think that it's you who doesn't get it. But no one's funny all the time. Except .

Sadly, saying someone has a "source of humor" sounds really stupid.

Perhaps it should only be used when saying serious things about humor.

Sometimes it's just a joke.

E Pleb Neesta

PS: Is changing "pr" to "fa" funny? If so, why? Is it intelligent?

PPS: Is it a dirty joke?

PPPS: Is it funny that defecating is spelled wrong?

PPPPS: It sure seems stupid if you don't get it.

PPPPPS: Or would it seem funny if it was a real misteak?

PPPPPPPS: Why is it unfunny if it's obvious or broad humor?

PPPPPPPPPS: Does that mean women are unfunny?

PPPPPPPPPPS: Is that a sexist remark?

PPPPPPPPPPPS: Are some people too sensitive?

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