A fascinating new study explains why men are seen as the funnier of the two sexes.

By Jennipher Walters
October 28, 2011

In the battle of the sexes, are males or females funnier? A fascinating new study explains why men are stereotypically seen as the funnier of the two genders.

Published online in Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, researchers had men and women write funny captions for cartoon images. Then they asked a group of people how funny the captions were without knowing who wrote them. Both male and females rated the cartoons written by the men to be funnier. And males seemed to crack up even more at captions written by men.

Then researchers showed both sexes the funniest and least funny captions from the first experiment, along with if the author was a male or a female. Next they gave them a memory test, where they asked subjects to remember if a man or a woman had written the captions. Researchers found that, on the whole, funny captions were better recalled and the more humorous the caption, the more likely they were to remember the sex of who wrote it. Both sexes also tended to misattribute funny captions to men authors and non-funny captions to female authors, according to ScienceDaily.

One theory why men are perceived as funnier is because men use humor to impress other women, and many women like a man who makes them laugh. Men always like women who laugh at their jokes. So the final result of these two experiments isn't that men are actually funnier than women. Rather, they are just perceived that way, researchers say. "Our findings suggest that men's view that men are funnier could be a result of their actually finding the humor they produce funnier, as well as their biased recall of funny things as having sprung from men's minds," the study states. "Women laughing more at men, when the gender is known, may be largely due not to superior humor, but to more social influences, which are known to impact laughter." Do you agree with the results? Do you think men or women are funnier? Or do we just perceive them that way?


Jennipher Walters is the CEO and co-founder of the healthy living websites FitBottomedGirls.com and FitBottomedMamas.com. A certified personal trainer, lifestyle and weight management coach and group exercise instructor, she also holds an MA in health journalism and regularly writes about all things fitness and wellness for various online publications.