Study Suggests Class Clowns May Also Be Most Intelligent Students

Attention, parents of hilarious kids!

Every classroom has one—that one kid who is constantly making wisecracks, pulling silly pranks, and making all the kids (and sometimes the teachers) laugh. Turns out those class clowns aren't just comic relief for the kids or the bane of the teacher's classroom existence, they may also be incredibly smart.

A study looked at the connection between humor and intelligence among schoolchildren and found that kiddos who got the joke were generally smarter.


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For the study, "Are more humorous children more intelligent? A case from Turkish culture", which was published in the scientific journal HUMOR, researchers had more than 200 children create captions for cartoons. Experts then rated the captions based on how relevant they were to the drawing and how funny they were overall. They found that the kiddos with the best jokes and whose lines produced the biggest laughs were also smarter. In other words, kiddos who could crack a good joke had "higher general knowledge and higher verbal reasoning" because kids who better understand language and its rules were able to make better jokes.

The same isn't necessarily true for adults, however. So, if you're making everyone laugh in the latest company-wide Zoom meeting, note that researchers didn't find a similarly strong connection between humor and grown-up intelligence.

Still, if your kid is constantly coming home from school with notes about their classroom antics, that may not be entirely a bad thing. As the study's lead author Professor Ugur Sak said in a press release, "Parents and teachers should be aware that if their children or students frequently make good quality humor, it is highly likely that they have extraordinary intelligence."

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  1. Arslan D, Sak U, Atesgoz NN. Are more humorous children more intelligent? A case from Turkish cultureHUMOR. 2021;34(4):567-588. doi:10.1515/humor-2021-0054

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