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Why do women find funny men attractive?

First off, yes, science agrees — women do find funny men more attractive:

Producing humor might function as a fitness indicator associated with greater desirability during dating selection. A male confederate in a bar was instructed to tell (or not tell) funny jokes to two other male confederates. A few minutes later, when the second of two male confederates left, the first male confederate asked a female who was near his table and who had heard the funny jokes for her phone number. The previous expression of humor was associated with greater compliance with the male confederate’s request and with a higher positive evaluation. The possible effects of humor are discussed from an evolutionary perspective.

Source: “Men’s sense of humor and women’s responses to courtship solicitations: an experimental field study.” from Psychol Rep. 2010 Aug;107(1):145-56.

And women might find funny men more attractive because it’s a sign of intelligence:

To explain the pervasive role of humor in human social interaction and among mating partner preferences, Miller (2000a) proposed that intentional humor evolved as an indicator of intelligence. To test this, we looked at the relationships among rater-judged humor, general intelligence, and the Big Five personality traits in a sample of 185 college- age students (115 women, 70 men). General intelligence positively predicted rater-judged humor, independent of the Big Five personality traits. Extraversion also predicted rater- judged humor, although to a lesser extent than general intelligence. General intelligence did not interact with the sex of the participant in predicting rating scores on the humor production tasks. The current study lends support to the prediction that effective humor production acts as an honest indicator of intelligence in humans. In addition, extraversion, and to a lesser extent, openness, may reflect motivational traits that encourage humor production.

Source: “Humor as a Mental Fitness Indicator” from Evolutionary Psychology 2008. 6(4): 652-666

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About Eric Barker