• 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
Zlatan's sore calf forces him to sit out Sweden's friendly
Zlatan Ibrahimovic at the Sweden team's training camp. Photo: Erik Nylander/TT

So does that mean Slovenia will beat Sweden on Monday?

'Sweden would not be able to defend Gotland'
File photo of a military exercise. Photo: Stefan Jerrevång/TT

Sweden would not be able to make a stand if it came to an invasion of the Baltic Sea island by foreign forces, one expert has said.

My Swedish Career
'Sweden is the ideal place for my business'
Emilie Terstegge. Photo: Private

Why Sweden's fitness craze and generous family benefits helped this Dutch entrepreneur launch her startup for mums.

Police shoot knife man in central Stockholm
Police technicians spent the rest of Saturday night combing the square for clues. Photo: TT

A knife-wielding man was shot by police officers in Stockholm’s Sergel Square on Saturday night after he attacked officers.

 Ibrahimovic 'is not going to Manchester United' - agent
Ibrahimovic is pondering his next move. Photo: TT

According to Mino Raiola, the agent of Swedish superstar footballer, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, his client will not be heading to Old Trafford to link up with Jose Mourinho, Manchester United's new manager.

More flight delays hit Swedish airport
For some flights, the problems have led to up to two hours of delays. Photo: TT

Travellers at Stockholm’s Arlanda airport were beset again with delays on Saturday afternoon after technical problems with flightplan management software.

Video
The top reactions to Swedish high heels handyman video
Andersson was in agony after a day of laying floors in high heels. Photo: Emil Andersson

What did The Local's readers think about this viral clip challenging sexist beauty ideals?

Transport authorities call for probe into tech glitch
SAS aircraft grounded at Arlanda airport last week. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

But officials say it was not sabotage that caused last week's network failure, which knocked out large parts of Swedish air traffic.

Why northern Swedes get the hots for sex toys
File photo of handcuffs. Photo: Gunnar Lundmark/SvD/TT

Where in Sweden do people buy the most sex toys? Kiruna in the far north, apparently.

Royal baptism day for Sweden's Prince Oscar
Prince Oscar with Archbishop Antje Jackelén. Photo: Jonas Ekströmer/TT

UPDATED: Royalty, dignitaries and other esteemed figures took to Stockholm's Royal Chapel for the ceremony.

Sponsored Article
How to find student housing in Malmö: 5 tips
Gallery
The best, cutest and funniest snaps from Prince Oscar's christening
Sponsored Article
Can you afford to live in Stockholm? (Hint: yes)
Travel
Is this town the best place in Sweden?
Gallery
People-watching: May 25th
Blog updates

27 May

Editor’s blog, May 27th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, Would you spend a day doing manual labour in high heels? That’s what Swedish…" READ »

 

17 May

What about “att”? (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! It often seems like the small words are the ones that cause the most confusion.…" READ »

 
 
 
Sponsored Article
'Sweden gives artists the space to follow their dreams'
Society
WATCH: Why Swedish handyman wore pink high heels for feminism
Sponsored Article
Stockholm makes it easier for refugees to meet startups
Sport
LIST: Top-ten ridiculous things Zlatan has compared himself to
Business & Money
Why Swedes don't want the euro
Fastighetsbyrån
Gallery
Property of the week: Vika, Falun
Sponsored Article
Food, fun, and reliable sun: Summer in Dubrovnik
National
Is this the most Swedish tattoo ever?
Sponsored Article
How Stockholm startups help new employees feel at home
Gallery
People-watching: May 20th-22nd
National
How to really annoy a Swede abroad
Sponsored Article
'Only soft power can defeat radicalism'
National
How this war veteran is warming hearts in Sweden
Sponsored Article
Why Stockholm attracts so many successful researchers
Gallery
People-watching: May 18th
National
How this Swede's viral ad totally nailed Stockholm's housing crisis
Gallery
Property of the week: Vasastaden, Gothenburg
Sponsored Article
'Sweden gives artists the space to follow their dreams'
Lifestyle
The best Swedish cities for dating
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
Gallery
People-watching: May 13th-15th
Sponsored Article
Can you afford to live in Stockholm? (Hint: yes)
Culture
BLOG: Eurovision as it happened
National
Why a 116-year-old Swede isn't the world's oldest woman
National
Youth unemployment falls in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: May 11th
Gallery
People-watching: May 6th-8th
Politics
Why Sweden's Greens are in free fall
National
Can these cartoon Swedes help foreigners blend in?
3,348
jobs available
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