We change focus this week with a delightful, unusual and informative show that focuses on optimism, joy and high energy. You will not have heard this information before, so don’t miss it. Yanik Silver is an author, an adventurer and a self-described ‘pretty good doodler,’ and this week on Dreamland
As if they didn’t have enough to study, scientists are now trying to figure out what makes something funny. One way to do this is to get a computer to create jokes–something a standup comedian (NOTE: Subscribers can still listen to this show) can do easily, but which is an almost impossible task for even the smartest machine.
Both men and women seem to believe that men are funnier than women. And men are particularly responsive to other men’s humor. Women, however, find men funnier because they mistakenly attribute funny things to men. Women often say they prefer a man who makes them laugh and men prefer women who laugh at their jokes.
One theory is that men use humor to impress potential partners.
At least that’s what psychologists say–but only just barely and mostly to other men. The oft-repeated stereotype is than women can’t tell a joke properly, but psychologist Laura Mickes says, "The differences we find between men’s and women’s ability to be funny are so small that they can’t account for the strength of the belief in the stereotype."
The standard explanations for this are usually variations on an evolutionary sexual-selection argument that likens a man’s humor to a peacock’s fancy tail or a deer’s rack of antlers, useful primarily for showing off and impressing potential mates. But if this was the case, the male sense of humor would appeal more to WOMEN.