Having a good sense of humor: the priceless benefits for life and society
“The world is a tragedy to those who feel, but a comedy to those who think.”
– Horace Walpole
Large amounts of studies over time have discovered that people with a strong sense of humor tend to be smarter, healthier, and less stressed about their lives in general.
In addition, a sense of humor can also help people appeal more attractive to a potential romantic partner.
Humor also has wider societal benefits: funny employers lead more hard-working and efficient teams, while funny teachers foster better students.
Einstein even attributed the brilliance of his mind to a childlike sense of humor. And indeed, numerous studies have found associations between a person’s sense of humor and their intelligence.
A study in Austria found that humorous people, particularly those who have a liking for dark humor, have higher IQs than their less humorous peers.
The researchers argue that the production of humor takes both emotional as well as cognitive ability. The analysis they made shows that funny people have higher verbal and nonverbal intelligence, and they score lower on overall aggressiveness and disturbance of mood.
Not only are people with a good sense of humor smart, but they’re also a joy to be around.
Evidence suggests that a good sense of humor is linked to higher emotional intelligence and is a strongly desirable quality in a partner.
Evolutionary psychologists characterize humor as a “heritable trait” that signals strong mental health and intellectual prowess to potential mates.
In experiments on the topic of attractiveness, both women and men rate funny people as more attractive and list sense of humor as being one of the most crucial traits in a long-term partner.
In psychology, the term “positive humor style” is used to refer to people who use their sense of humor to strengthen relationships and minimize conflict. This kind of humor is associated with higher relationship satisfaction, high self-esteem, and extroversion. Having a comedic outlook on life is also a great coping mechanism. It helps people manage adversity and stress in a better way.
Styles of humor with more negative associations, like ridicule, sarcasm, and self-deprecating humor, do not come with the same benefits.
They rather tend to alienate people and are more often than not associated with aggression and depressed mood.
Not only do comedically gifted people make other people laugh, they also laugh more themselves. Neuroscience also shows that laughter leads to changes in the brain, which could also explain the link between intelligence and humor.
Neuropsychological research has discovered that experiencing positive emotional states, like fun, joy, and happiness, increases the brain’s dopamine production. In addition to making us feel fantastic, dopamine also opens up the brain’s learning centers, which, in turn, enable and sustain more neural connections. This results in us becoming more creative in our way of thinking, more flexible, and much better at problem-solving. In addition, it also boosts our working memory.
Humor and success
Evidence shows that humor, in fact, enhances perceptions of confidence, competence, and societal status, making people with a strong sense of humor very influential.
Comedy draws people in to listen, aids communication, and helps people learn more effectively. It is an exceptionally powerful tool that many successful leaders effectively use to bolster group cohesiveness and organizational culture.
Here is clinical psychologist Jordan Peterson’s in-depth take on the matter:
Research on positive organization suggests that the more fun we have at the workplace the more productive we become, and the less likely we are to suffer and burn-out.
Barbara Fredrickson’s “broaden and build theory” also backs the idea that experiencing positive emotions through comedy actually alters our thought process, psychological responses, and actions, creating a virtuous circle effect that increases wellbeing.
Studies on the use of humor in education also support the notion that humor is a highly effective aid to learning. Research has effectively demonstrated that the lessons we derive with the aid of humor are more enjoyable, and also enhance our comprehension and ability to recall the topic.
If you want to gain a little more golden knowledge on the topic, take a look at The School Of Life’s profound video essay titled Why Comedy Matters: