Funny People Are More Likely to Be Smart

Source: The Atlantic, Nov 2015

Funny people are more likely to be smart. (In one of the many New Yorker studies, the students who scored higher on intelligence tests also generated the funniest captions.) Humor “signals a kind of ability to put yourself in someone else’s mind and understand what someone else will find funny,” David Buss, an evolutionary psychologist, explained. “It requires social intelligence, and it takes social verve or confidence.”

On average, women tend to use their laughter to lure in potential mates, while men use their jokes to attract as many women as they can.

the sex difference became clear. Women want men who will tell jokes; men want women who will laugh at theirs.

Liana Hone, a psychology postdoc at the University of Missouri, came to a similar conclusion in a study earlier this year: “Men prefer women who are receptive to their humor, whereas women prefer men who produce humor.”

In a 2007 study that asked 200,000 people in multiple countries to rank their preferred qualities in a mate, women ranked “humor” first. Men ranked it third.

If men try harder to be funny, women do their best to show their appreciation, laughing more enthusiastically and frequently in male company. One study found that when men and women are talking, the amount that the woman, but not the man, laughs can predict whether the pair wants to date each other.

Christopher Hitchens presents humor as an essential tool men can deploy to break a woman’s defenses:

If you can stimulate her to laughter … well, then, you have at least caused her to loosen up and to change her expression.

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