Next time you make a dumb blonde joke, you may be the true butt of it.
Researchers at Ohio State University analyzed 10,878 Americans who took part in the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 (NLSY79), which surveyed those between ages 14 and 21 in that year; in 1980 participants took an IQ test, and five years later they were asked what their natural hair color was. Researchers analyzing the data now found that blonde men and women alike aren't less intelligent than those with other hair colors — and in fact may even be smarter, though the percentage difference isn't statistically significant.
"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 the lead researcher, who points out the economic implications of said stereotype when in fact there "shouldn’t be any discrimination against blondes based on their intelligence."
Reporting in the journal Economics Bulletin, the researchers specifically found that blonde-haired white women have 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. Results are similar for men.
"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," the researchers write in the study abstract.
One caveat: It appears that roughly 3 percent of the women who described themselves as naturally blonde may not have been.
(In related news, check out why women in this country are actually afraid to be blonde.)