If you're blonde, there's no doubt you've had to contend with a dumb blonde joke at some point in your life. But a surprising new study might turn the tables on some of the stereotypes surrounding hair color, reports Phys.org.
Researchers looked at the IQs of 10,878 Americans and found that white women who claim that their natural hair color is blonde have an average IQ score that is slightly above the average IQ of brunettes, redheads and those with black hair. The study delivers a resounding deathblow to the notion that hair color has any link whatsoever to intelligence.
Before blondes start to boast, however, the average IQ of each hair type was within three points of any other. So although blondes scored the highest, it was within a reasonable margin of error. In other words, it's not enough to say that blondes are smarter than others; it's just enough to prove they aren't dumber either.
"This study provides compelling evidence that there shouldn't be any discrimination against blondes based on their intelligence," said Jay Zagorsky, author of the study and a research scientist at Ohio State University.
The data from the study is nothing new. It came from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY79), a national survey of people between 14 and 21 years old when they were first interviewed in 1979. It just so happens that participants of this survey also took the Armed Forces Qualification Test, or AFQT, in 1980, which is used by the Pentagon to determine the intelligence of all recruits. And in 1985, the participants were asked to self-identify their hair color.
For the current study, Zagorsky dropped all African Americans and hispanics from the survey to eliminate any ethnic biases. By the numbers, blonde-haired white women had an average IQ of 103.2, brown-haired women scored 102.7, redheads scored 101.2 and black-haired damsels got 100.5.
Given that blondes are also associated with the more favorable stereotype of "having more fun," and are generally seen as more desirable, this latest study might be enough to make non-blondes scorn their sunny-locked counterparts out of jealousy. Perhaps it's jealousy that manufactured the false dumb blonde stereotype to begin with. Or maybe real dumb blondes just stuck out more, because their higher desirability allowed them to get away with having lower intelligence.
Then again, maybe there's never been any real basis for the stereotype to begin with.