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The Funny Truth About Men

“To get his attention, just laugh when he's joking.” Researchers recently reached this conclusion, which reflects the stereotype: women like witty men, and men like women who laugh at their jokes.

The fact that people with a sense of humor are attractive is obvious. However, many tests have been carried out to confirm or debunk this idea.


Eric Bressler from Westfield State College in Massachusetts and his colleague Sigel Belshein from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, did their research in the following way: they asked 200 college students (men and women) to look at pictures of people of the opposite sex. There were funny captions under some of them, for example: “Crime was so bad in our school that we had a salaried detective.” Others had neutral ones: “I preferred to go school on foot, not by bus.”


What’s interesting is that men’s opinions about women didn’t depend on their wit. But women treated men with a good sense of humor as potential partners: more likable, interesting, and popular.


Bressler assumed that both men and women would equally value a sense of humor, but it turned out they need different things; women value the ability to make them laugh, and men value the ability to understand a joke.


On the second experiment Bressler and Belshein asked 130 students to imagine two people of the opposite sex. One was a joker, and the other valued jokes. Then the students were asked whom they would choose for a relationship.


Women, as a rule, preferred jokers, and men preferred women who thought they were witty.


Bressler thinks that his research can help to understand how sense of humor developed in the process of evolution.


According to the theory suggested by psychologist, Jeffrey Miller, from the University of New Mexico, women prefer witty men because the existence of a sense of humor proves that they have an active and healthy brain, and as a result they have good genes. “This is an effective and reliable means to make sure that they have imagination and intelligence,” Miller says.

If this theory is accurate, a woman choosing a partner with a good sense of humor has more chances to have healthy kids, who would inherit these genes.


What does it mean for people who are searching for love? Being a scientist, and not a specialist in relationships, Bressler can’t give an answer. However, he can give women a piece of advice: “If a guy doesn’t interest you, don’t laugh at his jokes.”

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