You’re having a laugh! Humour ISN’T a dealbreaker when finding ‘the one’ – and trying too


Contrary to popular dating advice, scientists now say that a good sense of humour won’t get you far when it comes to finding love. 

Researchers from the University of Queensland paired up 554 singletons for over 800 dates and found no correlation between ratings of attractiveness and humour. 

Overturning another old adage, the researchers also didn’t find any differences between the sexes in terms of how important humour was in a potential partner. 

Women were no more likely than men to find a funny partner attractive, nor were men more likely to find someone attractive if they laughed at their jokes. 

Lead researcher Henry Wainwright said the findings also fly in the face of the theory that humour is a sign of evolutionary advantage because it is linked to passing on intelligence to offspring.

No laughing matter: It turns out that someone finding your jokes funny may not be a good sign, after scientists found no connection between perceived humour and attractiveness (stock)

No laughing matter: It turns out that someone finding your jokes funny may not be a good sign, after scientists found no connection between perceived humour and attractiveness (stock)

To test the theory that being funny is attractive, the researchers first asked the participants how funny their ideal partner should be, and how funny their partner should find them.

The participants then paired up for four three-minute speed dates with members of the opposite sex and were asked to score their partner on how funny they were and how much their partner enjoyed their humour. 

The researchers also recorded how often the daters laughed, noting if it was at their partner or themselves.  

The initial results from people’s stated preferences seemed to confirm the conventional view as women showed a greater preference for funny partners, and saw this preference as important, while men preferred partners that would find them funny.

However, when the researchers came to examine the post-date scores, the preference for funny partners appeared to vanish.

‘We found that irrespective of sex, participants who laughed more at their partner or received more laughs did not rate their partner as any more or less attractive,’ Mr Wainwright said. 

‘It’s interesting that this result opposes the commonly held belief that women are more attracted to funny men and that men are more attracted to women who find them funny.’

Mr Wainwright added: ‘Our results suggest that trying too hard to be funny on a date might be more counterproductive than helpful – you should just be yourself.’ 

Getting laughs or laughing at a partner's jokes didn't have any positive impact on how attractive participants were perceived to be (stock image)

Getting laughs or laughing at a partner’s jokes didn’t have any positive impact on how attractive participants were perceived to be (stock image)

However, this isn’t just about getting some good dating advice; these findings have some significant implications for theories about the origins of humour.

Despite humour being present in virtually every human culture, scientists are still unsure of the reason why it developed. 

Likewise, people consistently report being more attracted to funnier individuals despite there being no clear reason why this would be the case.

One theory, known as the ‘fitness indicator hypothesis’, claims that humour evolved because it is an indicator of genetic fitness which humans would seek in a mate. 

The idea is that if humour or wit requires intelligence or other beneficial traits, a funny partner would have some beneficial genes to pass down to their offspring. 

‘If true,’ said Mr Wainwright, ‘this process would lead to an evolutionary advantage both for being funny and being attracted to funny people, a potential explanation as to why humour is found in virtually all human cultures.’

However, Mr Wainwright said his study was inconsistent with the theory that being funny requires quick thinking, intelligence, and creativity. 

The study has been published in the journal Evolution and Human Behaviour

What explains our attractions? 

  • Scientists have worked on a number of different theories to explain our attractions.
  • Despite our self-reported preferences, this study suggests that humour does not play a big role.
  • Other studies have found that humans appear to select partners that have similar facial features to themselves. 
  • Early theories suggested that this was because couples tended to grow physically more similar over time, however, this theory was debunked.
  • Other theories have looked at the importance of having similar interests and beliefs, which appears to make attractiveness more likely.
  • Genetic selection has often been cited as a possible explanation, with scientists arguing that certain traits are indicators of valuable genetics.  
  • Some studies show that in heterosexual pairings, masculinity was positively associated with attractiveness in men while it is negatively associated with attractiveness in women. 
  • Some scientists believe this is because these features signal genetic fitness.  

 

The reasons behind our attractions may lie elsewhere as some recent studies suggest we are more attracted to those we share interests with or who are simply similar to us. 

A series of studies by Boston University researcher Charles Chu found that people are more likely to be attracted to someone they share even a single common belief. 

Dr Chu attributed this to something called ‘self-essentialist reasoning’, where people believe they have an inner core that determines why they are the way they are.

If someone believes their inner essence determines their likes and dislikes, they assume it is the same for someone else.

According to Dr Chu’s findings, this may mean that when we find someone with a similar interest we assume they have a similar essential nature to us which we are attracted to. 

This effect was found in big agreements like on the topic of abortion, but also on trivial matters like estimating how many blue dots were on a page.

‘I found that both with pretty meaningful dimensions of similarity as well as with arbitrary, minimal similarities, people who are higher in their belief that they have an essence are more likely to be attracted to these similar others as opposed to dissimilar others,’ says Dr Chu in an interview with The Brink.

Other recent speed-dating experiments have also shown that people are often more attracted to people who look similar to them. 

The study found that higher ratings of facial similarity were a good predictor of whether two people would be attracted, even when they were of a different ethnicity.  

WHAT DO WOMEN FIND ATTRACTIVE IN MEN? HERE ARE 4 SCIENTIFICALLY PROVEN TRAITS

1 – Popularity

Men appear more attractive if they’re popular with other women, according to scientists.

The theory is that women are especially attracted to men with partners because they are more likely to be kind and faithful – which makes them ‘good mates’.  

2 – Money

Women are more likely to find men attractive if they think they have a bulging wallet, a new study has found – but for men it’s still all about the looks.

A recent study suggests that women are four times as sensitive to salary when considering a male partner as men are when choosing a female partner.

3 – Muscles

When it comes to what women want, muscular, tall men still win out, a recent Austrlian study suggests.

Scientists showed a group of 160 women photographs of shirtless, faceless men and asked to give them an attractiveness rating.

The results show men who looked strong, with muscular arms and toned torsos, did far better than those who had worked a little less hard at the gym.

4 –  Intelligence

 It seems that, for some, looks and personality really don’t matter.

Nearly one in ten people find intelligence to be the most attractive feature in a partner – a trait known as sapiosexuality, according to researchers at the University of Western Australia.

 



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