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

March 21, 2016 by Jeff Grabmeier
No joke: Blondes aren't dumb, science says

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 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 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.

Explore further: No longer a gray area: Our hair bleaches itself as we grow older

Related Stories

Hair color of unknown offenders is no longer a secret

January 3, 2011

The hair color of an unknown perpetrator who has committed a crime will soon no longer be a secret for forensic investigators. Erasmus MC scientists, in collaboration with their Polish colleagues, have discovered that DNA ...

Review: Low-level laser Tx effective for hair growth

September 19, 2013

(HealthDay)—Low-level laser therapy (LLLT) seems to be effective and safe for hair growth in men and women, according to a review published online Aug. 23 in Lasers in Surgery and Medicine.

First gene for grey hair found

March 1, 2016

The first gene identified for greying hair has been discovered by an international UCL-led study, confirming greying has a genetic component and is not just environmental.

Hair forensics could yield false positives for cocaine use

March 2, 2016

Hair analysis has become standard practice for determining whether someone has abused illicit drugs. But some experts have questioned whether current methods to wash away external contaminants from samples might affect test ...

Recommended for you

43 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

julianpenrod
1 / 5 (5) Mar 21, 2016
Among other things, the Armed Forces Qualification Test is not necessarily so reliable a judge. It is geared more toward those guided intellectually by principles such as that the leader is always right, even if they say water is not wet, and that, sometimes, there is no alternative to killing the other guy. It can be pointed out, too, that, if hair color was requested, is there any proof those grading the tests weren't at least subconsciously led to favor those with blonde hair? And, while this isn't a call to automatically disparage blondes, where is the proof that it is that blondes did as well as other hair colors and not that other hair colors have slipped to do as poorly as blondes?
kochevnik
3.4 / 5 (5) Mar 21, 2016
Vatican has done everything to marginalize women. The Old Testament was 'rebooted' to eliminate references to women who were girlfriends or wives. Instead modern christianity refers to women only as prostitutes, virgins or old widows. Moreover they kept the text in Latin so that their elimination of the gospels of Gospels of Philip, of Thomas, of Mary and of Mary Magdalene went unnoticed. What of all the numerous Gospels, Acts and Epistles that were not approved by the Church councils when the New Testament was compiled?

American feminism erupted by design of the Rockafellers, not by grassroots movement of woman's suffrage. The christian model eliminates priests as family men and puts patriarchal pedophiles in their place

Who would seriously ignore a mother's decisions simply because she was blonde? The workplace is not a bastion of profound thought, but more a hive quickly being replaced by automation
Captain Stumpy
5 / 5 (6) Mar 21, 2016
Armed Forces Qualification Test
@juli
the AFQT / ASVAB are modified general aptitude tests https://en.wikipe..._Battery

the reason they're good to use for this type investigation is that there is a lot of information typically given for the test (which can be accessed later)
especially if said tester ends up enlisting in the military, as you automatically allow your records to be used in this type research as well as other research
It is geared more toward those guided intellectually by principles such as that the leader is always right, even if they say water is not wet, and that, sometimes, there is no alternative to killing the other guy
besides being a blatantly false claim, it doesn't take into consideration that enlisted personnel are not required to follow any illegal orders issued to them, even by the POTUS

you should do at least *some* homework before making claims about stuff you know nothing about
Thirteenth Doctor
4.4 / 5 (7) Mar 21, 2016
It is geared more toward those guided intellectually by principles such as that the leader is always right, even if they say water is not wet, and that, sometimes, there is no alternative to killing the other guy


As a former Sailor who was an E-6 this is 100% false. True, I have encountered those types of NCO's and officers that think that way but they are quickly weeded out and do not last long in making decisions that matter. I always told my subordinates that they DO NOT have to follow orders that illegally endanger their life or the lives of others (with obvious exceptions to enemy combatants).

Also as a Combat Information Center (CIC) Watch Supervisor I was answerable to the Commanding Officer only. I told many a NCO's and JO's to shove off trying to make crazy decisions or orders. This isn't the 1940's, there are no more Patton types.
ogg_ogg
1.3 / 5 (3) Mar 21, 2016
self-reporting is always a poor way to gather information. What possible basis was there for excluding MOST of the population ( negros, latinos, (no mention of asians??))? The fact that there is a significant discrepancy between men and women reporting being blonde also suggests the results are useless. In point of fact there is a fairly simple way to determine sex by examination of genitalia, and the number incorrectly reporting their biological sex is likely to be low, but there is no simple way to "determine" hair color - hair color can bleach out under sunlight, mine did when I was young, also hair color isn't uniform over the entire body. There's even worse problems with race: it is a recognized FACT that there is no genetic determinants of "race" - it is a social construct having no biological validity. The paper's abstract claims that there were significantly more blonde genuises than the other hair color, & fewer blondes with "extremely low IQ." fwiw.
compose
Mar 21, 2016
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
antigoracle
2 / 5 (4) Mar 21, 2016
But, they are still easy, right.
ab3a
3.9 / 5 (7) Mar 21, 2016
The "dumb blond" jokes got started because of political correctness. Blond, fair skinned people are considered a privileged class and therefore are a safe target for rude jokes.

That's really all there is to it.
compose
Mar 21, 2016
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Colbourne
5 / 5 (3) Mar 21, 2016
The reason that more women than men stated that they were blond is probably due to the fact that women often have longer hair. The sun will bleach the hair over time, giving the impression that it is lighter than it is.

How about comparing peroxide blondes with the general population. That might be where the myth started.
Da Schneib
5 / 5 (5) Mar 21, 2016
Some of my best friends are blondes.

Snicker.

Seriously, though, I never bought the idea that blondes are dumb in the first place. And I have trouble imagining how stupid anyone who does must be.
michael_frishberg
5 / 5 (1) Mar 21, 2016
Blond prostitutes can charge premium prices, how dumb can they be?

See the best table of the Economist yet!

http://cdn.static...C048.png
antigoracle
1 / 5 (4) Mar 21, 2016
I've held the thought that this goes back to our caveman days. Blondes being more noticeable were more likely to feel the blunt end of a club to the noggin and dragged off for a night of snoggin'. You would expect the offsprings of this union, a mother who was clubbed senseless by a dumb father, to not fall far from the tree. Well, I can erase that thought now.
RobertKarlStonjek
4 / 5 (4) Mar 21, 2016
As usual, nobody seems to bother to check their assumptions before barrelling into pointless research.

Note that the 'dumb blonde' stereotype, most prominently portrayed in politically incorrect movies of the early to mid part of the 20th century, portrayed socially naive and unwordly, socially inexperienced girls who were ignorant of world affairs and generally very juvenile in their outlook with squeaky voice, childish mannerisms and other markers of youth. Blonde hair is far more common in young people. The hair turns darker from late teens with the majority of blonds disappearing by their mid 20s.

Thus 'blonde' is a proxy for young, ignorant, socially awkward females and was never simply a measure of IQ except in the late 20th century by naive (probably blond) researchers who were unaware of the underlying attraction mechanism associated with female blonde hair. The equivalent in males is signs of maturity like facial hair. Nobody seems to mistake that for high IQ..yet..
RobertKarlStonjek
5 / 5 (1) Mar 21, 2016
A quick survey would settle the point: do people really think that 'dumb blonde' means low IQ or social naivety. Note that the complementary expression was/is 'ditzy blonde':
"Ditzy means basically acting really dumb and innocent. Not really knowing what is going on. "

http://www.urband...rm=ditzy
cantdrive85
1 / 5 (6) Mar 21, 2016
The blonde stereotype may not hold true, but the liberal is a moron stereotype certainly holds.
viko_mx
1 / 5 (3) Mar 21, 2016
Rather, those who think that the intelligence depends on the hair color are in the category of dump, because do not is questioning stereotypes and mainstream theories.
kochevnik
1.8 / 5 (5) Mar 22, 2016
besides being a blatantly false claim, it doesn't take into consideration that enlisted personnel are not required to follow any illegal orders issued to them, even by the POTUS
That is some genuine bullshiyte. Typical of a citizen of a government that never abides by it's own treaties and views warmongering as economic model. Or perhaps you are blonde?
I always told my subordinates that they DO NOT have to follow orders that illegally endanger their life or the lives of others (with obvious exceptions to enemy combatants).
Everyone is now an 'enemy combatant' to the USA empire
nilbud
3.7 / 5 (3) Mar 22, 2016
The "dumb blond" jokes got started because of political correctness. Blond, fair skinned people are considered a privileged class and therefore are a safe target for rude jokes.

That's really all there is to it.

Your tiny penis is really doing a number on your head. You need psychological counselling you live in a delusional state lying like a brain damaged version of Donald trump.
Thirteenth Doctor
5 / 5 (5) Mar 22, 2016
Everyone is now an 'enemy combatant' to the USA empire


I dont fault the soldiers and sailors, I fault the paper pushers who never served any time in the military at all or in Bush II case no real service. Once you're in that battle zone, you have an obligation to defend you and yours. No one in the military was drafted ( In Iraqi Freedoms case mislead) but again that's the fault of the paper pushers who go to work and do everything they can not to work.

So if you want to lump every solder/sailor/airman into one category fine. I can tell you from personal experience with all branches that we aren't just robots programmed to follow orders unquestionably.
El_Nose
5 / 5 (1) Mar 22, 2016
The fact that the scientists believe that dropping Hispanic and African Americans from the study removed ethnic and racial bias is a big flaw. If the study was of just people of Northern European decent this is still flawed. Why not exclude Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, ... That the researchers don't realize that the concept of being white without ethnicity is a totally American concept is pitiful. The average European can look at someone and tell you where someone is probably from because ethic heritage is so strong there that ethnic feature are easy to pick out. But Americans miss this point and think in terms of white, black, Hispanic as if that is a good break down of ethnicity.
compose
Mar 22, 2016
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
tear88
5 / 5 (1) Mar 22, 2016
.... pointless research.


I agree. I've never thought that there was anything to the "dumb blonde" stereotype, so IMO the dumb ones are the people who bought into the idea. And those people are unlikely to be influenced by facts.
Captain Stumpy
5 / 5 (3) Mar 22, 2016
That is some genuine bullshiyte
@koch
really?
"I, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God." (Title 10, US Code; Act of 5 May 1960 replacing the wording first adopted in 1789, with amendment effective 5 October 1962)
http://www.histor...ths.html

the UCMJ is US Law with slight modification (as in military regulations added- like dress and appearance, non-judicial punishment, and adherence to SOFA or Geneva convention)
kochevnik
2 / 5 (4) Mar 22, 2016
That is some genuine bullshiyte
@koch
really?
"I, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God." (Title 10, US Code; Act of 5 May 1960 replacing the wording first adopted in 1789, with amendment effective 5 October 1962)
http://www.histor...ths.html

the UCMJ is US Law with slight modification (as in military regulations added- like dress and appearance, non-judicial punishment, and adherence to SOFA or Geneva convention)
Your government doesn't abide by any treaties or conventions. Yours is a terrorist-funding narcostate in the last stages of dying, fascist empire. More goosestepping
antigoracle
not rated yet Mar 22, 2016
Perhaps the reason blondes are the butt of these jokes, is because they handle it in stride.
Case in point - https://www.youtu...PeL7_xWc
TheGhostofOtto1923
5 / 5 (2) Mar 22, 2016
Does this study include brunettes who are dumb enough to bleach their hair?
nilbud
2.3 / 5 (3) Mar 23, 2016
Note that the 'dumb blonde' stereotype, most prominently portrayed in politically incorrect movies of the early to mid part of the 20th century, portrayed socially naive and unwordly, socially inexperienced girls who were ignorant of world affairs and generally very juvenile in their outlook with squeaky voice, childish mannerisms and other markers of youth. Blonde hair is far more common in young people. The hair turns darker from late teens with the majority of blonds disappearing by their mid 20s.

That's complete garbage you really are delusional you pompous bloviating know nothing.
Lex Talonis
1 / 5 (3) Mar 23, 2016
It's true - being "stupid" and or supremely dysfunctional, is a fact of life.

There are really cleaver men and women and there are really stupid men and women.

Some of the really stupid women happen to be blond.

And they really ARE dumb fucks.

Fucking clueless and can't tell shit from clay.

Dense, thick, shit for brains etc.

So the dumb blond jokes actually DO have a basis for their existence.

There really are blond women who actually are incredibly fucking stupid.
antigoracle
5 / 5 (2) Mar 23, 2016
WHOA!!
You should tell us how you really feel.
Captain Stumpy
5 / 5 (3) Mar 23, 2016
Your government doesn't abide by any treaties or conventions
@kochev
and your gov't is the paragon of virtue? LMFAO
hello, i'm half Oglala! i know the shortcomings of the US gov't and it's treaties LOL
More goosestepping
didn't take you long to get to Godwins law!
thanks for sharing your ignorance
(actually, it is stupidity considering the internet has an abundance of reputable sites to gain knowledge from)

.

There really are blond women who actually are incredibly fucking stupid.
@lex
just like there are posters on PO who are incredibly f*cking stupid, promoting pseudoscience or various other known idiocy.

calling the whole stupid because of the actions of a minority is kinda stupid, don't ya think?
TheGhostofOtto1923
5 / 5 (2) Mar 24, 2016
There are really cleaver men and women and there are really stupid men and women
Cleaver? Like these guys?
https://youtu.be/rVoeS0VPNms

I sea wat yur sayin.
Lex Talonis
1 / 5 (2) Mar 25, 2016
Blonds don't have shit for brains....

Yah right!

https://www.youtu...liv5BTNo

https://www.youtu...7-LEBznk

Whydening Gyre
5 / 5 (3) Mar 25, 2016
Well, a bit of personal info.
I'm strawblonde -
and prob'ly the smartest person I know...:-)
JCSamuelson
5 / 5 (2) Mar 25, 2016
Blondes aren't inherently dumb but this article definitely is.
TheGhostofOtto1923
5 / 5 (1) Mar 25, 2016
If you look closely at the picture you will see that the book is upside down. And her tattoo is a stick-on.
IronhorseA
5 / 5 (1) Mar 25, 2016
with woman coloring their hair all the time, did they actually check that they were were real blondes?
antigoracle
not rated yet Mar 25, 2016
If you look closely at the picture you will see that the book is upside down. And her tattoo is a stick-on.

If the book was upside down, then the blank space at the end of the line would be closer to the spine of the book and not the edge of the page. You are the one who's been doing it wrong. Will get back to you on the tattoo.
Whydening Gyre
5 / 5 (2) Mar 25, 2016
with woman coloring their hair all the time, did they actually check that they were were real blondes?

You mean like - check the "carpet"? See if it matches the drapes?

@Otto
If you look closely at the picture you will see that the book is upside down. And her tattoo is a stick-on.

Are you trying to make a blonde joke....?:-)
Thorium Boy
not rated yet Mar 26, 2016
Blonds, good looking ones are often so involved in social pursuits that they don't accumulate the trivial knowledge that others do. This impacts their ability to relate on a varied, intellectual level. It's also proof that even if someone isn't very intelligent, being well-read may give the impression they are.
Thorium Boy
1 / 5 (1) Mar 26, 2016
Blonds, good looking ones are often so involved in social pursuits that they don't accumulate the trivial knowledge that others do. This impacts their ability to relate on a varied, intellectual level. It's also proof that even if someone isn't very intelligent, being well-read may give the impression they are.
met a more fishes
not rated yet Mar 27, 2016
dumb blonde jokes have nothing to with hair color. they are a way of disparaging women as unintelligent inferior part of our species, the same way they do with every section of humanity that is not male of European heritage. devaluation of people according to sex is the oldest and most important form of discrimination for keeping us (including white men) docile and productive. once they have instilled the notion the some humans are intrinsically more valuable than others you don't ask why you are going to spend the rest of your life working 40+ hours a week to make some one else rich. because subconsciously you already know, your the woman in that relationship. it is of course a disgusting affront to humanity.
TheGhostofOtto1923
5 / 5 (1) Mar 28, 2016
If the book was upside down, then the blank space at the end of the line would be closer to the spine of the book and not the edge of the page. You are the one who's been doing it wrong.
My post was specifically designed to prove that blondes are not necessarily the only dumbasses to be found.

You passed. Or failed, I don't know.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.