Humor seems to be a valuable tool for schoolchildren.
According to scientists, that class clown from seventh grade may have been the brightest kid in the room.
It turns out that humor ability and overall intelligence are tightly linked in middle-school-aged children, according to research published in the International Journal of Humor Research.
“We were particularly interested in the quality of humor made by children but evaluated by adults,” lead study author and Anadolu University researcher 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.”
Also interesting about the study is the revelation that children seem to use humor for different purposes than adults do.
“While humor is frequently used for entertainment by adults, children use it mostly for peer acceptance,” Sak said in the release. “Therefore, the nature of adult and child humor differ.”
In order to determine which students were funnier and smarter, the researchers arranged for experts to rate the captions that 217 middle school kids wrote for a series of ten cartoons. The experts, who the paper describes as cartoonists and “humor education” instructors, judged the cartoons for comedic value and relevance, finding that the students with greater verbal reasoning skills as well as more generalized measures of intelligence also happened to be the funniest.
Perhaps it’s not surprising that the better wordsmiths were able to conjure up better jokes, but the study does seem valuable as a way to measure students’ progress in school and find ways to improve their education.
READ MORE: Class act: Clever children tell better jokes [De Groyter]
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