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We’ve featured so many studies that reinforce stereotypes on this blog that we have a whole category full of them. So it was refreshing to find this study, which set out to test whether blondes are actually dumber than people with brown, red, or black hair. More specifically, the author crunched data from a large survey of young baby boomers, which conveniently included both hair color and IQ information for most respondents. He found that not only are blonde women not dumb–they’re actually MORE likely to be geniuses than women with other hair colors. Perhaps “Legally Blonde” is actually a work of nonfiction?

Are Blondes Really Dumb?

“Discrimination based on appearance has serious economic consequences. Women with blonde hair are often considered beautiful, but dumb, which is a potentially harmful stereotype since many employers seek intelligent workers. Using the NLSY79, a large nationally representative survey tracking young baby boomers, this research analyzes the IQ of white women and men according to hair color. Blonde women have a higher mean IQ than women with brown, red and black hair. 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.”

No joke: Blondes aren’t dumb, national study refutes damaging stereotype

The “dumb blonde” stereotype is simply wrong, according to a new national study of young baby boomers.

The study of 10,878 Americans found that white women who said their natural hair color was blonde had an average IQ score within 3 points of brunettes and those with red or black hair.

While jokes about blondes may seem harmless to some, it can have real-world implications, said Jay Zagorsky, author of the study and a research scientist at The Ohio State University.

“Research shows that stereotypes often have an impact on hiring, promotions and other social experiences,” Zagorsky said.

“This study provides compelling evidence that there shouldn’t be any discrimination against blondes based on their intelligence.”

The study found that the average IQ of blondes was actually slightly higher than those with other hair colors, but that finding isn’t statistically significant, said Zagorsky, who works in the university’s Center for Human Resource Research (CHRR).

“I don’t think you can say with certainty that blondes are smarter than others, but you can definitely say they are not any dumber.”

The results for blond white men were similar – they also had IQs roughly equal to men with other hair colors.

The study was published last week in the journal Economics Bulletin.

Data from the study came from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 (NLSY79), a national survey of people who were between 14 and 21 years old when they were first interviewed in 1979.

The NLSY79 is conducted by CHRR for the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In 1980, participants in the NLSY79 took the Armed Forces Qualification Test, or AFQT, which is used by the Pentagon to determine the intelligence of all recruits. The overall AFQT score is based on word knowledge, paragraph comprehension, math knowledge and arithmetic reasoning.

In 1985, all participants were asked, “What is your natural hair color?”

To eliminate any bias in the IQ tests caused by ethnic and racial differences, Zagorsky dropped all African Americans and Hispanics from the analysis.

The resulting findings showed that blonde-haired white women had an average IQ of 103.2, compared to 102.7 for those with brown hair, 101.2 for those with red hair and 100.5 for those with black hair.

Blonde women were slightly more likely to be in the highest IQ category than those with other hair colors, and slightly less likely to be in the lowest IQ category.

The study can’t say whether there are any genetic relationships between hair color and intelligence, but Zagorsky did find one fact that could at least partially explain why blondes showed slightly higher intelligence: They grew up in homes with more reading material than did those with any other hair color.

“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.

Zagorsky noted that more women than expected in the NLSY79 reported that they were blonde. In the survey, 20.7 percent of white women reported being blonde, compared to only 17.1 percent of men. Assuming that hair color is not related to gender and that men were less likely to color their hair, Zagorsky said the results suggest that about 3.5 percent of women reported their natural hair color as blonde when it was not.

Zagorsky said he couldn’t say for sure how that may have affected the results, but he said the major finding was almost certainly still true: Blondes could hold their own intellectually with those of any other hair color.

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Hair color of unknown offenders is no longer a secret Journal information: Economics Bulletin Provided by The Ohio State University Citation: No joke: Blondes aren’t dumb, national study refutes damaging stereotype (2016, March 21) retrieved 1 February 2020 from https://phys.org/news/2016-03-blondes-dumb-national-refutes-stereotype.html This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

Blondes are, like, so totally not dumb

Barbies of the world rejoice — the “dumb blonde” stereotype is like, totally wrong, a new study has found.

Flaxen-haired women are just as smart as brunette, red and black-haired ladies, according to a study national study of 10,878 Americans.

“This study provides compelling evidence that there shouldn’t be any discrimination against blondes based on their intelligence,” declared study author Jay Zagorsky, a scientist at Ohio State University.

The Ken’s of the world aren’t ditzy either — blond white men also had IQs about equal to men with other hair colors.

The data comes from participant’s scores on the Armed Forces Qualification Test, which is used by the Pentagon to determine the intelligence of all recruits.

White women with naturally blonde hair scored an average IQ score within 3 points of brunettes, red and black-haired women, according to the study.

The study found that the average IQ of blondes was actually slightly higher than those with other hair colors — but that finding isn’t statistically significant, said Zagorsky.

“I don’t think you can say with certainty that blondes are smarter than others, but you can definitely say they are not any dumber,” said Zagorsky, who works in the university’s Center for Human Resource Research.

Many of the blondes grew up in homes with more reading material than people with other hair colors, he said of participants.

“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.

Roughly 21 percent of white women said they were blonde and 17 percent of men said they were blonde.

The study was published in the journal Economics Bulletin.

Blondes are not dumb after all, researchers claim

But Jay Zagorsky, professor of economics at Ohio State University, said although it may seem harmless, it has done women no good.

He explained: “Research shows stereotypes often have an impact on hiring, promotions and other social experiences.

“This study provides compelling evidence there should not be any discrimination against blondes based on their intelligence.”

• Why having ‘blonde’ genes will not make you ditzy

Blondes have long been the butt of jokes for their supposed lack of intelligence but the study of 10,878 American baby boomers found this is simply wrong.

Prof Zagorsky said their average IQ was actually slightly higher than those with other hair colours, but that finding was not “statistically significant”.

He said: : “I don’t think you can say with certainty blondes are smarter than others, but you can definitely say they are not any dumber.”

The overall message was white women whose natural colour was blonde had an average IQ within three points of brunettes and those with red or black hair.

The results for men were similar – blonds also had IQs roughly equal to their counterparts with locks of other hues.

The study published in the journal Economics Bulletin used data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 (NLSY79), whose participants were between 14 and 21 when they were first interviewed.

In 1980, they took the Armed Forces Qualification relied upon by the Pentagon to determine the intelligence of recruits with scores based on maths and English skills.

Five years later all participants were asked for their natural hair colour.

• End of grey hair in sight as scientists find gene responsible

To eliminate any bias in the IQ tests caused by ethnic and racial differences, Prof Zagorsky dropped all African Americans and Hispanics from the analysis.

The study can’t say whether there are any genetic relationships between hair colour and intelligence, but Prof Zagorsky did find one fact that could at least partially explain why blondes showed slightly higher intelligence – they grew up in homes with more reading material than the others.

He said: “If blondes have any slight advantage, it may simply be that they were more likely to grow up in homes with more intellectual stimulation.”

Prof Zagorsky also noted more women than expected reported they were blonde – 20.7 percent compared to just 17.1 percent of men.

Assuming hair colour is not related to gender and men were less likely to use dye, he said the results suggest about 3.5 percent of women reported they were blonde when they were not.

Prof Zagorsky said he could not say for sure how that may have affected the results, but the major finding was almost certainly still true – blondes could hold their own intellectually with those of any other hair colour.

It backs up research two years ago that revealed hair colour is ‘only skin deep’ because it depends on just a single letter of the genetic code and is completely unrelated to any other trait, including the shallow claim it signifies lower intelligence.

Scientists at Stanford University, California, found switching just a single ‘letter’ of DNA would turn brunettes to blondes, and would have no affect on the brain.

It is believed the originator of the ‘dumb blonde’ was an 18th century French prostitute named Rosalie Duthé whose reputation of being beautiful but stupid inspired a play about her called Les Curiosites de la Foire.

A possible explanation is attractive women have less pressing incentives to cultivate and demonstrate their intellect in order to ensure their future, since attractiveness is an asset.

Other actresses to have made a living out of playing stereotypical ‘dumb blondes’ include Judy Holliday, Jayne Mansfield and Goldie Hawn.

Reese Witherspoon in Legally Blonde Photo: Twentieth Century Fox

The notion has spawned counter narratives such as in the 2001 film Legally Blonde in which Reese Witherspoon succeeds at Harvard despite biases against her beauty and blonde hair.

But whether they have more fun is still open to question.

• 12 pictures of outrageous celebrity hair colours

Photo: Westend61/Sinan Muslu/Corbis

The dumb-blonde myth is a pervasive one in Hollywood and society, one that stigmatizes fair-haired women — usually pretty ones — for being ditzy and airheaded. It’s the underlying character arc that drives the women in movies like “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” and “Legally Blonde” to fight against stereotype and prove they’re just as smart as anybody out there. And turns out Lorelei Lee and Elle Woods were onto something: Blondes might be actually be the smartest ones in the room, at least as compared to other women.

Using survey data from baby-boomers, economist Jay Zagorsky of Ohio State University tackled the connection between blonde hair and intelligence, publishing his results in this month’s Economics Bulletin. Zagorsky selected a group of people using the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY) for 1979, when participants were between 14 and 21 years old; since then, they’ve been periodically interviewed (as of the research, at least 26 times).

Zagorsky combined NLSY data on hair color and IQ tests in search of a correlation between the two and came upon a surprising conclusion: among Caucasian people — the only group studied since most blonde-haired people are white — those born with blonde hair actually had the highest average IQ scores of all women. Blond-haired men didn’t do too badly themselves, as you can see from the results:

These are, of course, a correlations drawn from a single study. They doesn’t show a definitive causal connection between hair color and intelligence, nor should anyone expect that there is one. So all you brunettes and redheads and raven-haired folk, relax.

Sources

Economic Bulletin

Shock. Blondes are actually the smartest, research claims

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that’s taken over our lives.

She’ll be relieved.

“Legally Blonde”/Movieclips/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

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?”

We’re all familiar with the stereotype of the dumb blonde perpetuated in movies like Legally Blonde and Clueless. And while few people would probably claim it’s statistically true that blondes have lower IQs, research has shown that we do subconsciously judge blonde women as being less intelligent.

So, scientists decided to put the baseless stereotype to the test. In a new study, researchers found that women with blond hair actually have slightly higher IQs than the rest of the population.

The study, published in Economics Bulletin, compared people with different hair colors’ results from a 1980 Armed Forces Qualification Test, which measures reading comprehension and mathematical reasoning. The average IQs were 103.2 for blondes, 102.7 for brunettes, 101.2 for redheads, and 100.5 for women with black hair. These differences are small and aren’t statistically significant, but the fact that blonde women came out on top does shoot to hell the notion that they’re at the bottom rung of the intelligence ladder.

“I don’t think you can say with certainty that blondes are smarter than others, but you can definitely say they are not any dumber,” says Jay Zagorsky, an Ohio State University professor who authored the study, in a press release.

Of course, we didn’t need a study to tell us that hair color has absolutely nothing to do with intelligence, but it’s good to know that the scientific community is on board too.

Science Definitively Proves Blondes Aren’t Dumb

Although it’s faded to brown, I was born a natural blonde-and thanks to my amazing colorist, I’ve maintained a natural blonde look ever since. (Except for a few lazy years in my early 20’s.) But despite how much I love the look of golden, caramel, and champagne blond strands, I’ve always wondered about the stereotypical “dumb blonde” jokes and if there was, indeed, any truth to that. Has my hair color ever impeded me from getting a job? From sounding intelligent?

Thankfully, new research published in the journal Economic Bulletin last week refutes the idea that blondes are not as smart as their brunette-, raven-, and red-headed counterparts. In a study conducted at Ohio State University, researchers found that white women who said their natural hair color was blonde had an average IQ score within three points of brunettes and those with red or black hair. What’s more, they found that the average IQ of blondes was actually slightly higher than those with other hair colors, but not quite enough to be statistically significant. (Ever wondered what The Psychology Behind Your Lipstick Color is?

However, while it may be true that intelligence isn’t different, perception comes into play quite a bit with the blonde stereotype, notes study author Jay Zagorsky, a research scientist at The Ohio State University. While jokes are jokes and should be taken as such, Zagorsky says that “research shows that stereotypes often have an impact on hiring, promotions, and other social experiences.” Additionally, while none of the findings showed a genetic relationship between hair color and IQ, the study does suggest blondes aren’t at any kind of intellectual disadvantage, and that those wives’ tales are just that.

  • By Rachel Jacoby Zoldan @rjacoby13

The Results Are In. Blondes Aren’t Dumb!

Got any blonde jokes guys?

So why was the blonde staring at frozen orange juice can?

Because it said ‘concentrate’.

Good one people, good one. Blonde jokes are part of the reason why our hair color gets a bad rap. But that’s about to change. Blondes will love this news!

They’ve put some science to it now, and figured out that maybe blondes are a little smarter than we’ve been given credit for all this time. Cool. As long as we can still play dumb if and when it works to our advantage.

A new study says the stereotype of “dumb blondes” just isn’t right. It found that the average IQ of blondes was actually slightly higher than those with other hair colors, but one researcher said that’s not really significant. Maybe because we already know that Taylor Swift and Gwyneth Paltrow are pretty smart.

Blondes had an average IQ score within 3 points of brunettes and those with red or black hair in this study. So I guess nobody can brag. And we probably know too that “dumb” is an equal opportunity quality, that can attach itself to any person regardless of hair color. That’s refreshing in a way.

They put some research into smarts and hair color to make the case that it’s not ok to discriminate based on hair color when it comes to hiring and social experiences Most of us have dropped those stereotypes anyway it seems. The dumb blonde stereotype seems a lil 1980ish.

So…

Why do blondes wear their hair up?

To catch everything that goes over their heads.

Bah dump dump.

Or perhaps to “concentrate” on more important things. Like having more fun. That still applies.

Why are blondes dumb?

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