Technically Incorrect: For some reason or other, researchers at Ohio State decided to confront one of the world's dullest cliches. And look what they discovered.
Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.
You fancy yourself an astute judge of intelligence, don't you?
And you've always used hair color as your first criterion, haven't you?
It seems obvious that hair color influences the brain. It's so close to it, after all.
Moreover, blonde hair has clearly been more affected by the sun, chemically that is. So blondes are more likely to have fried brains.
Isn't that how the cliché goes? The one that claims blondes are dumb. More often used to assess the alleged intelligence of women, it has also been known to explain the prevalence of pretty-boy blond, vacuous men.
Researchers at Ohio State University decided to address this head-on. They inspected 10,878 white American baby-booming women.
They looked at their IQ data. You'll be stunned into removing all the hair dye from your bathroom when I tell you that blondes actually had a slightly higher IQ than women of all the other hair colors.
Blonde women enjoyed an average IQ of 103.2. Those with brown hair mustered a mere 102.7. Redheads managed 101.2. And what's with black-haired women? Theirs was an average IQ of 100.5.
Doesn't that make you feel better? Or does it force you into trying to find a different cliché in order to denigrate someone as stupid? (A suggestion: those on Facebook have lower IQs than those who aren't.)
The results weren't statistically significant. However, lead researcher professor Jay Zagorsky said on the university's Web site: "This study provides compelling evidence that there shouldn't be any discrimination against blondes based on their intelligence."
The research report goes even further: "Blondes are more likely classified as geniuses and less likely to have extremely low IQ than women with other hair colors, suggesting the dumb blonde stereotype is a myth."
Though we chide others for discriminating, we're all full of it. We take one look at someone and we immediately think we know enough about them to make a judgment.
There are many curious physicalist aspects of life. Why are tall people richer and more successful? Is that why short people have no reason to live?
The whole dumb blonde cliché is said by some to have begun in 18th century France. A prostitute called Rosalie Duthé was said to have been beautiful, blonde, but not blessed with brains. The basis of this judgment was that she apparently enjoyed long pauses before speaking.
And then Hollywood latched onto the idea and really made it stick, as only Hollywood can.
Zagorsky and his team didn't just stop at presenting their results. They tried to explain them too.
"If blondes have any slight advantage, it may simply be that they were more likely to grow up in homes with more intellectual stimulation," he said.
Yes, blondes grow up in households where there are more books.
I cannot confirm that the next Ohio State study will be: "Redheads: Are they really more fiery?"