The stereotype that blondes are dumb is not true, psychological research has revealed.
Blonde women have slightly higher IQ than other hair colours — although the difference was small and not statistically significant.
The IQ of blonde men was similar to other hair colours.
Dr Jay Zagorsky, its author, argues stereotypes can have real-world implications:
“Research shows that stereotypes often have an impact on hiring, promotions and other social experiences.
This study provides compelling evidence that there shouldn’t be any discrimination against blondes based on their intelligence.”
The results come from a national survey of 10,878 white Americans — all African Americans and Hispanics were excluded to eliminate bias.
All were asked about their natural hair colour.
The results showed that blonde-haired women had an average IQ of 103.2, those with brown hair 102.7, those with red and black hair 101.2 and 100.5 respectively.
IQ scores are designed so that the average score is 100.
The figures are so close that they probably mean there is little difference.
Dr Zagorsky said:
“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.”
Only one factor appeared to explain any IQ advantage that blonde people could have: they had more books at home when they were growing up.
Dr Zagorsky said:
“If blondes have any slight advantage, it may simply be that they were more likely to grow up in homes with more intellectual stimulation.”
Whatever the research says, though, stereotypes live long in the collective mind.
Dr Zagorsky writes:
“…humans use a person’s looks as a signal for the person’s personality or productivity.
For example, blonde women are often stereotyped as dumb or incompetent while redheads are seen as people with fiery tempers.
These stereotypes are reinforced in popular culture with the dumb blonde female being a staple of Hollywood movies such as Renee Witherspoon in the “Legally Blonde” series or even Marilyn Monroe in “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.”
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The study was published in the journal Economics Bulletin (Zagorsky, 2016).