Humor ability reveals intelligence, predicts mating success, and is higher in males

Gil Greengross, Geoffrey F. Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

154 Citations (SciVal)
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Abstract

A good sense of humor is sexually attractive, perhaps because it reveals intelligence, creativity, and other ‘good genes’ or ‘good parent’ traits. If so, intelligence should predict humor production ability, which in turn should predict mating success. In this study, 400 university students (200 men and 200 women) completed measures of abstract reasoning (Raven's Advanced Progressive Matrices), verbal intelligence (the vocabulary subtest of the Multidimensional Aptitude Battery), humor production ability (rated funniness of captions written for three cartoons), and mating success (from the Sexual Behaviors and Beliefs Questionnaire). Structural equation models showed that general and verbal intelligence both predict humor production ability, which in turn predicts mating success, such as lifetime number of sexual partners. Also, males showed higher average humor production ability. These results suggest that the human sense of humor evolved at least partly through sexual selection as an intelligence-indicator.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)188-192
Number of pages5
JournalSwarm Intelligence
Volume39
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2011

Keywords

  • Humor,
  • intelligence mating,
  • evolutionary psychology,
  • sex differences,
  • mental fitness indicator

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