The study, led by Ulrike WIlienger at the Medical University of Vienna, recently surveyed a mixture of 156 men and women of different backgrounds and ages. The report, published in the Cognitive Process journal, concluded that those with a dark sense of humour had higher IQs.
Participants being studied were given verbal and non-verbal IQ tests and were asked general questions about their mood and aggression levels.
Once the tests were over, researchers asked the group to evaluate satirical cartoons taken from The Black Book by German cartoonist Uli Stein. They were required to rate their enjoyment of 12 bleak scenarios.
One of the cartoons included two people at a morgue, with a physician lifting a body sheet; in the text, a woman says, "Sure, that's my husband – anyway, which washing powder did you use to get that so white?"
The British Psychological Society Research Digest blog found that the study revealed three types of people, those with 'sicker' senses of humour scored the highest in the tests and were better educated; they were also less aggressive.
Those who didn't find the cartoons entertaining scored lower on the IQ test and had higher aggression levels.
The research report read: "The most surprising result is that subjects which show the highest values with respect to black humour preference and comprehension show high values with respect to intelligence, have higher education levels and show lowest values regarding mood disturbance and aggression."