Funny Guy Gets the Girl? How Humor Makes You More Attractive

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WASHINGTON — A sense of humor could help you snag a date, a new study suggests.

Funny people who participated in a speed-dating study were deemed more attractive than those with less of a sense of humor.

"Humor is influential," said lead study author Daniel Doerksen, who completed the research when he was an undergraduate studying psychology at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, Canada. If people are funnier, it makes them seem more attractive, and that in turn makes others more romantically interested in them, Doerksen said. [5 Ways Love Affects the Brain]

Previous studies have suggested that when a person is attractive, others think of them as being more humorous than less attractive people, Doerksen told Live Science. But there isn't any research showing the opposite, that being funnier makes a person seem more attractive, he said.

To see how a person's sense of humor affected how attractive they appeared to others, researchers had about 50 male college students and 50 female students participate in a speed-dating event. To measure each person's physical attractiveness before the dates started, researchers rated photos of the people in the study and averaged the results. Importantly, the researchers rating the photos had no interactions with the individuals, so they couldn't make any judgements about their personalities or senses of humor.

Then, the speed-dating began.

The students in the study went on five to 10 dates lasting 4 minutes each with members of the opposite sex. After each speed date, the students answered a few questions about the encounter, including how attractive they found the person, how funny the person was and if they were interested in the person romantically.

When the daters' attractiveness ratings were compared to the ratings generated by the researchers, the more humorous people's ratings were higher than their ratings from the researchers, the study found.

And for men, the effect was more pronounced, Doerksen said. "The relationship was stronger for men as rated by women" than women rated by men; in other words, humor increased men's attractiveness to women more than it increased women's attractiveness to men, he said.

In addition, people who were deemed less funny were also found to be less attractive than their ratings from the researchers.

"If you weren't funny, you were definitely perceived as being less attractive, so that's a word of warning," Doerksen added.

He noted that the study involved only heterosexual individuals.  

The findings were presented here Aug. 4 at the American Psychological Association's annual meeting. They have not yet been published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Originally published on Live Science.

Sara G. Miller
Staff Writer
Sara is a staff writer for Live Science, covering health. She grew up outside of Philadelphia and studied biology at Hamilton College in upstate New York. When she's not writing, she can be found at the library, checking out a big stack of books.