Male production of humor produced by sexually selected psychological adaptations: Evolutionary perspectives on human sexual psychology and behavior.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

113 Downloads (Pure)


(from the chapter) Humor plays an important role in mate choice, a role in which males and females are not equal partakers. Men and women view humor differently, and their motivations, experiences, usage, and consumption of humor are not the same. These differences might be best understood in light of sexual selection theory and by looking at the distinct evolutionary forces that shaped the psychological adaptations of men and women. Humor and laughter are powerful displays enjoyed daily by people all over the world. There are many mysteries yet to be unlocked regarding the origin and uses of humor, but it is clear that humor has strong evolutionary roots. The data presented here support the view that humor is sexual selected and a fitness indicator. Differences in humor production ability and humor appreciation do not seem to be random, and knowing that someone has a great sense of humor tells us something about that person, far beyond his or her humor ability. Evidence suggests that humor is a sexually dimorphic trait, and humor production is an overt manifestation of intelligence that increases mate value, especially in men. Humor could have evolved as part of mutual, sex-specific selection, where men's and women's humor production, uses, preferences, motivations, perceptions, and influences vary. Women seek males with a sense of humor and place greater importance on finding a mate with a sense of humor, a trail that is highly attractive for them. Men, on the other hand, try to produce high-quality humor to attract women, while women's humor creativity does little to attract men. Women's laughter signals their romantic interest in a man, while men's laughter does not. Humor serves many other functions in our daily lives, and while the data does support the view that humor production is a sexually selected trait, it does not necessarily exclude other explanations, evolutionary or not, for humor's origin, function, and uses. Humor offers a strong reward system, and supernormal stimuli tickle our desire for a good laugh all the time. Other complementary explanations could be in place, and future studies will help fill some of the gaps in empirical data on the subject. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved) (chapter)
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEvolutionary Perspectives on Human Sexual Psychology and Behavior
EditorsViviana A. Weekes-Shackelford, Todd K. Shackelford
Place of PublicationNew York, NY US
PublisherSpringer Nature
Number of pages24
ISBN (Electronic)9781493903146
ISBN (Print)9781493903139, 9781493953547
Publication statusPublished - 08 Mar 2014

Publication series

NameEvolutionary Psychology


  • humor creation
  • sex differences
  • sexual selection
  • humor
  • evolutionary psychology


Dive into the research topics of 'Male production of humor produced by sexually selected psychological adaptations: Evolutionary perspectives on human sexual psychology and behavior.'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this