• Sweden's news in English
 
app_header_v3

'Blondes have more brains': Swedish study

The Local · 1 Apr 2014, 11:24

Published: 01 Apr 2014 07:24 GMT+02:00
Updated: 01 Apr 2014 11:24 GMT+02:00

A team of anthropologists at Borås College, central Sweden, published the breakthrough discovery on Tuesday morning following a comprehensive four-year study of over 30,000 Swedes.

"It might be time to put an end to the dumb blonde jokes," researcher Sofia Håkansson told The Local with a chuckle.

The idea for the study was born after she had noticed during a team-building weekend away that several of the admin staff outfoxed the academics in problem-solving tasks.

"At first I thought it was a gendered observation, with ideas of looking into women multi-tasking at home as more of a basis for a working hypothesis," said Håkansson. She set to work enrolling students in IQ tests and noting a huge array of other factors - from age and gender to which courses the students were taking on campus.

At that point, hair colour was not a parameter.

"One day, there was this tiny little blonde who kept staring at her test while twirling her blonde hair. At first my own reaction was that she was slow and dumb, then with a minute to go she filled out every single answer, and to my amazement she had one of the highest scores yet," Håkansson said.

"That's when I had the very un-PC thought of writing down the participants' hair colour, because I'd discarded her as a dumb blonde."

Håkansson admitted that she kept the new research method to herself for fear of incurring at best sceptical glances, at worst an official racism probe by the faculty's diversity ombudsman.

"But in the end our research shows that people with blonde hair, on average, are smarter. But not by much, mind you," said. "And it holds true for fake blondes too, regardless of ethnicity."

She ran a smaller sample of 2,000 participants through a spatial awareness test in the lab and found the same pattern. And blonde women received an average test score that was 1.3 percent higher than the men's.

Håkansson then further narrowed her sample, asking the top scorers whether or not their hair colour was genuine. In many cases it was straight out of a bleach bottle, leading Håkansson to breathe a sigh of relief.

"We're not talking of a 'smart gene'; there seems just to be a correlation here between fair locks and IQ test scoring and I have no idea why," said Håkansson, who is incidentally a blonde herself.

Regardless, her research sent shock waves around social and national media.

"Ha! In your face brunettes. Finally an end to the blonde jokes," Greta Persson tweeted, while Heronymous, another blonde, tweeted "Science, bitch!"

Story continues below…

Within hours of publishing the study, however, Sweden's academic research oversight committee, based in Gröngölingsköping, said it would subject research leader Håkansson to an investigation.

The committee members said in a joint statement that they had serious doubts as to whether the Borås-based scientist had "willfully formulated a hypothesis to stoke a media wildfire rather than advance the cause of science".

Håkansson herself quickly rebutted accusations of foul play, but admitted personal trauma had played into how she had chosen her line of research, adding that one too many blonde jokes had plagued her during "a troublesome recent holiday in Greece".

"I have heard every blonde joke in the world and I've never laughed once," Håkansson said. "And it's much funnier to pick on Norwegians anyway... though they're mostly blonde too." 

April Fools' Day update
 
It's midday in Sweden and custom dictates that we now reveal our chicanery, skulduggery and general tomfoolery.
 
As many readers no doubt have guessed, the above article has very little basis in fact.
 
Except there are a whole lot of blondes in Sweden, many of them unnaturally dyed (though they'd probably never tell you).
 
Gröngölingsköping is not a place at all, either. In fact, gröngöling is a Swedish word for rookie or newbie. 
 
Comments have now been reactivated. A word of caution - after midday the joke's on you.

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Record number of drowning deaths in Sweden this year
Linus Magnusson och Ester Meijer, life guards at Skanör beach in southern Sweden last year. Photo: Andreas Hillergren/TT

More people have drowned in Sweden so far this year than in any other year this century. The good weather is getting the blame.

Presented by American Express
6 simple travel hacks that will make your life easier
File photo: Pixabay

Getting ready to jet off on summer holidays? Be sure to check out these tips and tricks for avoiding unnecessary headaches between packing and relaxing.

Pupils' school photo Nazi salute 'wasn't criminal'
The harbour in Simrishamn, close to where the incident took place. Photo: Jorchr/Wikimedia Commons

Four high school students who performed a Nazi salute in a school photo have had their convictions for inciting racial hatred quashed by an appeal court.

Opinion
'We don't know how Brexit will affect our time in Sweden'
Sweden-based Brit Sarah Campbell, left. Photo: Private & AP Photo/Tim Ireland

One month after the Brexit referendum Sarah Campbell, a British reader based in Uppsala, pens a love letter to her European Union.

Royal husband: 'Britain should not leave the EU'
Sweden's Princess Madeleine and her British-American husband Chris O'Neill. Photo: Mikael Fritzon/TT

What does this British-American husband of a Swedish princess think of Brexit and Hillary Clinton?

This Swede is the world's best mosquito catcher
Kristoffer Ekersund. Photo: Private & Johan Nilsson/TT

Yes, there is such a thing as the world championship in mosquito killing.

Which of these two Swedes is Vincent van Gogh's lost twin?
Ivar Arpi, a self-portrait of Vincent van Gogh and Petter Samuelson. Photo: Tomlin Studio & Private

Question: What is even more bizarre than a Swede who really, really looks like Vincent van Gogh? Answer: TWO Swedes who look like Vincent van Gogh.

Date set for verdict in asylum home murder trial in Sweden
The accused in court with a member of his legal team. Photo: Adam Ihse/TT

The trial of a man accused of killing a worker at a home for young refugees earlier this year has ended.

High security as Orlando top of mind at Stockholm Pride
This man might not actually be a police officer. Photo: Vilhelm Stokstad/TT

Nothing is being left to chance, organizers insist.

Fired Ericsson boss to get millions in payouts
Hans Vestberg of Ericsson. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

Swedish telecoms giant Ericsson has fired its long-standing CEO Hans Vestberg, but said he will receive a severance package amounting to millions of kronor.

Sponsored Article
What can newcomers learn about Sweden at Almedalen?
National
Sweden's Hollywood star Alicia Vikander puts her pen in the bottle
Sponsored Article
5 reasons you should try dating with The Inner Circle
Gallery
People-watching: July 22nd-24th
The Local Voices
The Jewish Syrian who dreams of rebuilding his country
Blog updates

22 July

After the horror, carry on regardless (Globally Local) »

"This time last week, we were just digesting the horror of the Nice killings, in which…" READ »

 

11 July

Swedish quizzes (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I have created some quizzes you can take online to test your Swedish skills. Here…" READ »

 
 
 
National
Watch this Swedish weather host leave his fly open... on live TV
Sponsored Article
Gran Canaria: Where Swedes go to work (and play)
The Local Voices
'I fled war in Syria. I never expected to be beaten in Sweden'
National
WATCH: Asylum seeker brutally beaten by Swedish bus driver
Technology
Why everyone is talking about Sweden's GTA pride parade
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
National
EU hits truck cartel with record price fixing fine
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Society
OPINION: Why Sweden is the most extreme country in the world
The Local Voices
'There is equality in accommodation in Sweden: Everyone is suffering'
Sponsored Article
Five easy ways to travel more often
Gallery
Property of the week: Gräsö, Östhammar
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Gallery
People-watching: July 15th-17th
National
How to make sure you're not caught out by Sweden's old bank notes
Sponsored Article
'Sweden's Lauryn Hill' touches the country's musical soul
Business & Money
Why Sweden has been named the most innovative country in Europe
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
National
Terror attack: what should you do?
National
French expat on the moment he was assaulted by a Stockholm bouncer
Sponsored Article
Local guide: the best of Berlin
Technology
Gunman? Nah, smartphone Swede
Sponsored Article
Why you need a EuroBonus American Express Card
The Local Voices
'If the war in Syria ended today, would you go back?'
The Local Voices
‘I feel like I’m living in a grave!’
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Sweden's Princess Victoria celebrates 39th birthday
Gallery
People-watching: July 13th
National
Swedes discover surprise mountain
Politics
What Sweden's home secretary thinks of Britain's new PM
Gallery
Property of the week: Smedjebacken, Dalarna
The Local Voices
'Even xenophobic Swedes can be polite’
Politics
WATCH: A very Swedish take on Brexit...
National
Swede's fury at Daily Mail's Bråvalla 'lies'
Gallery
People-watching: July 8th-10th
National
Sweden and Denmark trolled each other on Twitter and it's hilarious
The Local Voices
'The best time to be smuggled to Europe is August 20th, 2015'
The Local Voices
Swedes: Stop obsessing over your material life and start talking to strangers
3,347
jobs available