The surefire way to a woman’s heart? In the wise words of Donald O’Conner in the classic musical Singin’ in the Rain: “Make ‘em laugh!”
According to a recent study, the more a woman laughs when conversing with a man, the more likely she’s interested. And if both people laugh together, well, that’s an indicator of a definite romantic connection. These results were discovered by Jeffrey Hall, associate professor of communication studies from the University of Kansas, while researching a link between humor and intelligence.
To reach these findings, published last month in the journal Evolutionary Psychology, Hall first worked with 35 participants. These individuals were asked to look at the Facebook pages of 100 strangers and then assess their personalities based on their profiles. Then, these assessments were compared to self-report surveys completed by the users of those Facebook pages. In this part of the study, Hall found that funny individuals were more likely to be extroverted over intelligent, and strangers assessed this accurately. When it came to gender, there wasn’t a significant difference in the amount of posted humorous content.
In the second part of the study, Hall had 300 students fill out surveys about humor and courtship. After using GPA and ACT scores as a marker of the students’ intelligence, Hall didn’t find a connection between intelligence and humor.
Finally, in the third part of the study, Hall wanted to explore how humor played a role in romantic attraction. To observe this, he brought 51 pairs of single, heterosexual students together who had never met before. The randomly assigned pairs were asked to sit alone in a room and chat for 10 minutes. Then they filled out a survey about their experience.
After going over the results, Hall found the more times a man tried to be funny and the more a woman laughed at his jokes, the more likely she was interested in him. But, interestingly, this wasn’t relevant in reverse. Hall also found that if a couple laughed together, they were more attracted to each other.
In the past, scientists have debated whether women actually appreciate men’s humor, even though it’s often cited as one of the most valued traits in a potential partner. However, researchers have suspected that it’s valued not because humor itself is important, but because it allows women to determine the intelligence of a potential partner.
Hall’s findings are the first of their kind since they show the value of humor as a separate entity from intelligence. “The idea that humor is a signal of intelligence doesn’t give humor its due credit,” Hall said. “If you meet someone who you can laugh with, it might mean your future relationship is going to be fun and filled with good cheer.”
So why is humor so important when it comes to finding a romantic partner? Hall believes it has to do with one of four things: it shows an agreeable personality, men use humor to gauge women’s interest, making women laugh is a type of courtship, and humor is a way to develop a long-lasting relationship.
Whatever the reason, the next time you’re trying to win over that special someone, it wouldn’t hurt to crack a few jokes!