Sex Differences in Humor Production Ability: A Meta-Analysis

Gil Greengross, Paul J. Silvia, Emily C. Nusbaum

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We offer the first systematic quantitative meta-analysis on sex differences in humor production ability. We included studies where participants created humor output that was assessed for funniness by independent raters. Our meta-analysis includes 36 effect sizes from 28 studies published between 1976 and 2018 (N = 5057, 67% women). Twenty of the 36 effect sizes, accounting for 61% of the participants, were not previously published. Results based on random-effects model revealed that men’s humor output was rated as funnier than women’s, with a combined effect size d = 0.321. Results were robust across various moderators and study characteristics, and multiple tests indicated that publication bias is unlikely. Both evolutionary and cultural explanations were considered and discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Article number103886
JournalJournal of Research in Personality
Early online date22 Oct 2019
Publication statusPublished - 29 Feb 2020


  • Humor
  • Humor production ability
  • Sex differences
  • Evolutionary psychology
  • Meta-analysis


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