Via Richard Wiseman’s excellent book 59 Seconds: Change Your Life in Under a Minute: As a result of the interviews, the researchers speculated that the best strategy would be to give a potential date the impression that in general you were hard to get (and therefore a scarce resource worth having) but really enthusiastic about him or her specifically.They tested this notion by using some of the same techniques…Conscientiousness is predictive of a number of very important positive elements in life.Agreeable, conscientious people make better spouses and parents — but disagreeable, non-conscientious people have more sex partners.Consistent with this, Robert Provine analyzed more than 3000 singles ads and found that women were more likely to describe their good humor appreciation ability whereas men were more likely to offer good humor production ability.Gil Greengross and Geoffrey Miller found in a sample of 400 university students that general intelligence and verbal intelligence both predicted humor production ability (writing captions for cartoons), which in turn predicted lifetime number of sexual partners (a proxy of reproductive success).
In comparison, men in the “no humor” condition were refused 84.6% of the time and were only accepted 15.4% of the time.
They found, however, that males showed higher average levels of humor production ability, which is consistent with the sexual selection perspective.
From these results, Greengross argues that a sense of humor evolved at least partly through sexual selection as an intelligence indicator.
Humor is attractive to men and women — but not in the same way.
The research shows women like men who make them laugh, and men like women who laugh at their jokes.