Thursday, July 23, 2009
I will now stop trying to be funny and instead just look for a rich man with a long left-hand index finger
I take a break from chess to bring you this science update.
The influence of humor on desirability
Eric R. Bressler a, , and Sigal Balshine b
a Department of Psychology, Westfield State College, P.O. Box 1630, Westfield, MA 01086-1630, USA
b Department of Psychology, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, L8S 4K1
Received 15 December 2004;
accepted 20 June 2005.
Available online 23 September 2005.
Humorous interaction is a ubiquitous aspect of human social behavior, yet the function of humor has rarely been studied from a Darwinian perspective. One exception is Miller's theory that one's ability to produce high-quality humor functioned as a fitness indicator, and hence, humor production and appreciation have evolved as a result of sexual selection. In this study, we examined whether there are sex differences in attraction to humorous individuals, and whether using humor influences perceptions of humorists' personality traits. 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.
Partner wealth predicts self-reported orgasm frequency in a sample of Chinese women
Thomas V. Pollet, a, and Daniel Nettle a
a Centre for Behaviour and Evolution, Newcastle University, Henry Wellcome Building for Neuroecology, Framlington Place, Newcastle upon Tyne NE24HH, UK
Received 17 April 2008;
accepted 13 November 2008.
Available online 13 January 2009.
There has been considerable speculation about the adaptive significance of the human female orgasm, with one hypothesis being that it promotes differential affiliation or conception with high-quality males. We investigated the relationship between women's self-reported orgasm frequency and the characteristics of their partners in a large representative sample from the Chinese Health and Family Life Survey. We found that women report more frequent orgasms the higher their partner's income is. This result cannot be explained by possible confounds such as women's age, health, happiness, educational attainment, relationship duration, wealth difference between the partners, difference between the partners in educational attainment, and regional location. It appears consistent with the view that female orgasm has an evolved adaptive function.
Sex hormones and finger length: What does 2D:4D indicate?
David A. Putz, a, , , Steven J. C. Gaulinb, Robert J. Sporterc and Donald H. McBurneyc
a Department of Anthropology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15260, USA
b Department of Anthropology, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA 93106, USA
c Department of Psychology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15260, USA
Received 30 January 2004;
accepted 26 March 2004.
Available online 26 May 2004.
Much recent research has focused on the ratio of the lengths of the second to fourth manual digits (2D:4D) as a predictor of the degree of expression of sexually dimorphic and other sex-hormone-mediated traits. However, published findings are often contradictory or subject to various methodological problems. In the present study, we reassessed the relationships among three measures of 2D:4D (left hand, right hand, and mean) and several variables previously claimed to be related to 2D:4D, including sexual orientation, spatial ability, status, physical prowess, and components of reproductive success. In addition, we examined the relationship between 2D:4D measures and several other traits whose expression is thought to be related to sex hormones, including voice pitch, sociosexuality, mating success, and fluctuating asymmetry. 2D:4D measures showed highly significant sex differences, as did spatial ability, sociosexuality, components of reproductive and mating success, and fluctuating asymmetry. However, out of 57 correlations, 2D:4D correlated significantly in the predicted direction only with sexual orientation (for both sexes) and only for left hand 2D:4D. We discuss the recent 2D:4D literature in light of these findings and consider their implications for understanding the timing of developmental events.