UM Research: Women Prefer Men Who Make Them Laugh, Men Prefer Women Who Think They're Funny

Nationally recognized funny women Tina Fey and Amy Poehler
Nationally recognized funny women Tina Fey and Amy Poehler
Photo: WikiCommons CC3.0

According to new research out of the University of Miami, it turns out that indeed straight men tend to prefer to find a partner who thinks they're funny, while straight women have more a preference for a man that could make them laugh.

Though, the internet got a hold of the information and completely bastardized it. The Daily Mail, a site known as much for its pictures of D-list celebs at the beach as its low journalistic standards,declared, "Men don't like witty women -- they just want one who laughs at THEIR jokes." Cosmopolitan declared, "Men Prefer Unfunny Women Who Laugh At Their Jokes."

None of which is true. The study does nothing to suggest that men don't like funny women, just that on average a women laughing at their jokes is a bit more important to them than a woman who makes them laugh.

The actual study was published last month and conducted by doctoral candidate Liana Hone and associates.

First of all, the study was conducted using heterosexual University of Miami undergraduates, which the paper admits may not be the best group of people to draw broad conclusions from. It noted that most were young and had "limited dating and relationship experience."

Secondly, the study wasn't designed to find what people don't like, but rather which traits they prefer.

Participants, were asked whether the preferred someone who made them laugh -- AKA a humor producer -- or someone who laughs at their jokes, a humor recipient, in five different relationship scenarios involving an opposite sex partner: a long-term relationship, a date, a one-night stand, a short-term relationship, and a friend.

Women had a much higher preference for a humor producer for long-term relationships, a date and a one night stand. The preferences for men and women in short-term relationships and friendship weren't that statistically different.

The study then asked the students to imagine a world where they could use money to increase the traits of their ideal partner for a long-term relationship. Each dollar spent would increase their partners percentile ranking by 10 percent. They could only spend money on the two traits of humor production or receptivity. So if a man spent $10 on a woman's humor production, he'd be dating the funniest woman on earth. If he spent $10 on a woman's humor receptivity, she'd be belly laughing every time he jingled his keys. Participants were given various budgets ranging from $5 to $15. As it turns out, at all levels men spent more on humor receptivity than women.

The study concluded that in an ideal world, women want a man who makes them laugh and laughs at their joke. Though, if forced to chose, they'd take a mate who made them laugh (which they view as a necessity) more than one who appreciated their humor (which they see as a luxury, or cherry on top of the perfect boyfriend cake).

Whereas men have a greater presence for a mate who laughs at their jokes. Though, notably the study does not present any evidence at all that men are turned off by funny women. It should also be noted that these results are averages, and various individual's preference can vary widely.

The study also doesn't suggest why this may be or wonder what societal expectations may have to do with the results, but we'll just leave you with this quote from nationally recognized funny woman Amy Poehler: "Girls, if boys say something that's not funny, you don't have to laugh."


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