• Sweden edition
 
April Fools'
'Blondes have more brains': Swedish study
A blonde woman. File photo: Shutterstock

'Blondes have more brains': Swedish study

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!"

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
Swedish Honeymoon Killing
Honeymoon suspect seeks instant aquittal
Murder suspect Shrien Dewani. Photo: TT

Honeymoon suspect seeks instant aquittal

A British millionaire businessman, Shrien Dewani, has argued that he should be cleared of the honeymoon murder of his bride because South African prosecutors have failed to prove their case. READ  

Snow forecast for north as capital enjoys sun
Stockholmers enjoying the November weekend sun. Photo: The Local

Snow forecast for north as capital enjoys sun

The Swedish Meteorological Institute has issued a class one warning following snowstorms in northern Sweden, but there is better news for Stockholmers who enjoyed sunshine over the weekend and can expect more good weather towards the end of this week. READ  

'Racist' Black Pete party scrapped in Sweden
A festive parade involving Zwarte Piet helpers in the Netherlands. Photo: TT

'Racist' Black Pete party scrapped in Sweden

A Dutch club in Stockholm that was planning a festive party featuring Santa alongside a servant with a black painted face has shelved the idea following numerous complaints of racism. READ  

Ebola crisis
Swedish expert says Ebola risk has reduced
Many in Liberia have little but chlorine to protect themselves from Ebola. Photo:TT

Swedish expert says Ebola risk has reduced

A leading Swedish expert on global health has said that the threat of the Ebola virus has decreased and suggested that the battle against the epidemic is entering a new phase. READ  

Presented by Regus
Get your own office anywhere in the world

Get your own office anywhere in the world

Sweden’s startup scene is booming – making central office space in Stockholm and Gothenburg even harder to find. So where does a new small business set up shop? Two seasoned entrepreneurs share their secret with The Local. READ  

Submarine hunt
Three in four Swedes believe submarine 'proof'
An enlarged look at the mystery sighting of a suspected submarine in the Stockholm archipelago in October. Photo: TT

Three in four Swedes believe submarine 'proof'

A new survey has revealed that 75 percent of Swedes trust that the Swedish military did find enough evidence to prove that a foreign submarine was present in the Stockholm archipelago last month. The results contrast with a more sceptical public during previous submarine incidents in the 1980s. READ  

Thirty Swedes in Turkish resort bus crash
A resort in Antalya, close to where the crash happened. Photo: Shutterstock

Thirty Swedes in Turkish resort bus crash

Up to thirty Swedish tourists were caught up in an accident involving two buses near the resort of Antalya in Turkey on Sunday afternoon, with ten taken to hospital after the crash. READ  

Nursery burned down in southern Stockholm
A Swedish firefighter. Photo: TT

Nursery burned down in southern Stockholm

A fire has destroyed a preschool in southern Stockholm overnight, with firefighters unable to contain the flames because of heavy winds. READ  

My Swedish Career
'I'm spreading Japan's 'cute' culture in Sweden'
Carolynn Piittisjärvi (right) together with business partner Eva Dejmo in their pop up store. Photo: Private

'I'm spreading Japan's 'cute' culture in Sweden'

For this week’s My Swedish Career we meet American Carolynn Piittisjärvi, an entrepreneur who has already managed to turn several hobbies into Swedish businesses. She has just launched a store selling Japanese clothes, toys and stationary in the hope of spreading ‘kawaii’. READ  

Swede Stenson defends DP World Tour title
Photo: TT/AP

Swede Stenson defends DP World Tour title

Sweden's Henrik Stenson made two birdies on the final two holes to successfully defended his title at the $8 million DP World Tour Championship on Sunday by two shots. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Imagebank Sweden
Society
Decorating your home for Swedish Christmas
Gallery
People-watching: November 22nd - 23rd
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Family life in Stockholm
Society
What's on in Sweden: November 20th to 27th
Lifestyle
How to make Swedish mulled wine
Blog updates

21 November

Exclusive Interview with Abba’s Bjorn Ulvaeus (Stockholm in my American Heart) »

"Most of us will agree that actions speak louder than words. But when the two are..." READ »

 

21 November

Editor’s Blog, November 21st (The Local Sweden) »

"Hello from Stockholm, Our week started with reports another Russian plane had been spotted in Sweden’s airspace,..." READ »

 
 
 
National
How to boost your career in Skåne, Sweden's south
Lifestyle
How an Umeå museum is rewriting Swedish history
National
Timeline: Julian Assange sex allegations
Lifestyle
Five unique backpacker hostels in Stockholm
National
Bones show off Sweden's history
National
What new word are Swedes voting on?
National
Why African Swedes are angry about Santa's helper
National
Pine, tar, and tinder: flavours from the north
Gallery
Selfies, solidarity and Hillary Clinton: Stefan Löfven on tour
Gallery
People-watching: November 19th
Society
Why are international professionals leaving Sweden?
Business & Money
Meet the Swedes who made suits for The Hunger Games
Technology
'I'm among the first Swedes with a microchip'
National
What is Sweden doing about bird flu?
Gallery
Property of the week: Eriksberg
National
Vecka45: Sweden's most innovative week
Gallery
In Pictures: The clubs and loves of Sweden's Sven-Göran Eriksson
Society
What's On in Sweden: November 13th to 20th
Gallery
People-watching: November 16th
National
Driving (expats) home for Christmas?
Lifestyle
Make your own Swedish pea soup
Politics
"Totally unacceptable": Defence Minister on Stockholm submarine
Society
The A-Ö guide to making life in Sweden easier
National
How a Swedish party inspired a masterpiece
National
Seen the new Ace of Base yet?
National
Meet the Irish woman thundering into Swedish rock
Gallery
In Pictures: Ace of Base through the years
Society
Ten things you should never say to a Swede
Gallery
People-watching: November 12th
Business & Money
Get your own office in Gothenburg or Stockholm - free for a day
National
Opinion: 'We have to talk about Sweden's Isis fighters'
Business & Money
Price hike for new mortgages in Sweden
National
Toy store catalogues 'too white' in Sweden
National
Pirate Bay co-founder released from prison
National
Southern Sweden had 201 days of summer
Gallery
Sweden's ten most powerful people
Gallery
Property of the week: Mariestad
National
Introducing... Healthcare in Stockholm
National
What you need to know about Stockholm hospital bug epidemic
Sponsored Article
The best options for oversea transfers
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

802
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
swedishdowntown.com
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
psdmedia.se
If you want to drink, that’s your business.
If you want to stop, we can help.

Learn more about English-language Alcoholics Anonymous in Sweden. No dues. No fees. Confidentiality assured.
aa-europe.org/sweden
The Local Spain is hiring!
The Local is seeking a new editor for our site in Spain to join our growing team of internationally-minded, driven, ambitious and clued-up journalists
Click here for the full job description