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January 25, 2006

Scientific studies suggest I'm gorgeous

According to one theory, proposed by psychologist Geoffrey Miller* at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, women prefer funny men because their wit reveals an active and healthy brain - and a fine set of underlying genes. "It's a very powerful and reliable way to show creativity and intelligence," Miller says.

If this theory holds true, a woman choosing a funny man as a partner is more likely to have genetically healthy children who will survive and reproduce themselves. This so-called sexual selection could, in some circumstances, favour women who like humorous men, and men who like women with an appreciation for humour.

More at Nature.com.

* In an ironic twist, "Geoff Miller" is also the name of the least funny person on the Internet.

Posted by Chris Clarke at January 25, 2006 10:17 AM TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.faultline.org/cgi-bin/mt-tb.cgi/1552

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Comments

The person who wrote this has obviously got to be a sex god of epic proportions. Becky's a damn lucky woman.

Posted by: Stephanie at January 25, 2006 10:43 AM
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I agree that Becky's a lucky woman. And there's no question that funny men are dead sexy.

But, uh, does it never work the other way 'round? I mean, why do the scientists concentrate only on how women select for men with a sense of humor? Are they assuming that women cannot, themselves, have a sense of humor and must be relegated to simply "appreciating" men who do? Are they assuming that men don't like funny women?

At first blush, this looks a lot like one of those scientific studies Twisty is so good at outing for its patriarchal idiocy.

Posted by: Ancrene Wiseass at January 25, 2006 01:22 PM
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Well, for sure, AW. Or as a friend put it to me earlier: "What, women don't have brains to pass on?"

It's like most Evolutionary Psychology: remotely applicable but largely worthless at best, and dishonest data mining combined with circular logic at worst.

If only there were something we could blame.

Posted by: Chris Clarke at January 25, 2006 02:48 PM
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yeeks. those are some scary links about the "ironic twist," chris.

there is another part of the study, upon which our friend geoff did not comment [or at least not in a quote-worthy fashion] -- that guys like women who find them funny. i'm pretty sure twisty can find some blaming to do all over the danged thing.

back to miller's comment, though -- what a buffoon. a whole lot of people make me laugh. kids. friends. clowns. clients. co-workers. bosses. professional opponents. judges. newspaper reporters. my dad. my sisters. cousins. neighbors. old friends. columnists. comic creators. bloggers. novelists. shakespeare. twain.

in some circumstances, miller's hypothesis that funny people have a healthy brain and good genetic material is pretty questionable, to tell the truth. this is the place where i refrain from getting snarky.

Posted by: kathy a at January 25, 2006 07:19 PM
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Geoff Miller is, alas, a postcard example of what happens when you spend too much time in alt.peeves and alt.tasteless. His formerly-trolling-but-now-you-can't-really-be-sure posts are considered the height of sophisticated humor in those newsgroups, which have become nothing more than right-wing echo chambers (with a few notable exceptions; the science fiction writer Charlie Stross is an alt.peever from a loooooooong time ago, and he keeps in rhetorical form by playing the occasional session of whack-a-con there.) There are probably some people who are less funny, but they don't have a internet fan club.

Posted by: David Parsons at January 25, 2006 07:37 PM
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CC> If only there were something we could blame.

=v= That's what the penis is for.

DP> Geoff Miller is, alas, a postcard example of what happens when you spend too much time in alt.peeves and alt.tasteless.

=v= Well, even in alt.peeves they're unimpressed with him. So there's no worry about him passing along those unhumorous genes.

Posted by: Jym Dyer at January 26, 2006 12:40 AM
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I'm just amazed that people other than porn spammers (who barely count) are still on usenet.

alt.ohso1998

And that Geoff guy seems like the most tiresome man ever.

Posted by: the_bone at January 26, 2006 07:27 AM
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seems to me that the woman in this scenario is the intelligent one. "funny" as in "funny man" covers a lot of ground.

Posted by: dread pirate roberts at January 26, 2006 08:11 AM
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"Women ranked the humorous men as better potential partners, the researchers found - and as more friendly, fun and popular. Men's view of a woman, on the other hand, appeared to be uninfluenced by her wit."

Posted by: amandyman at January 26, 2006 10:42 AM
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Going by the abstract, it looks like they could squeeze another blurb out of this article--women prefer sketchy unintelligent guys who make them laugh.

"We experimentally manipulated how humorous two-stimulus persons were perceived to be by presenting them with autobiographical statements that were either funny or not. Participants chose which person was a more desirable partner for a romantic relationship, and which individual was more likely to have several personality traits. Only women evaluating men chose humorous people as preferred relationship partners. For both sexes, humorous individuals were seen as less intelligent and trustworthy than their nonhumorous counterparts, but as more socially adept. These results are discussed in light of sexual selection theory."

Posted by: amandyman at January 26, 2006 10:57 AM
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=v= That's what the penis is for.

Tsk. Don't scold your dyck, Jym.

Posted by: Ron at January 27, 2006 05:57 PM
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