What do a sense of humor and a peacock's tail have in common?

What do a sense of humor and a peacock's tail have in common?
What do a sense of humor and a peacock's tail have in common?

What privileges do people with a good sense of humor have? For example, this quality can serve as an advertisement to attract the opposite sex.

sense of humor

The famous biologist, paleontologist and popularizer of science Alexander Markov tells about this in his book "Human Evolution: Monkeys, Bones and Genes". “Some experts admit that properties such as a sense of humor and generosity may well be analogous to a peacock's tail in humans,” Markov writes.

In the language of biology, this means that a sense of humor could have developed through sexual selection, although it is not very necessary for survival and caring for offspring (unlike, say, intelligence or kindness, which also developed under the influence of sexual selection). The fact is that it can indicate the presence of the most valuable and important qualities, such as, for example, intelligence. Alas, it is impossible to directly verify such hypotheses. But the consequences that follow from these hypotheses are very possible.

Intelligence, kindness, and understanding are critical criteria in choosing a marriage partner for all the types of human cultures studied. Scientists have established this fact long ago. There is evidence, however, that men are cunning in this matter, and women give honest answers. (Perhaps this is due to the fact that men, as you know, when choosing a partner, are more often greedy for external beauty than for qualities that can be consciously developed. from the outside it does not look quite "humane", etc. - NS).

Nevertheless, intelligence is a very accurate indicator of a person's fitness, therefore, people (most often women, since it is the man who "should" play the role of the breadwinner of the family) and choose smart marriage partners - this is evolutionarily meaningful. However, there was no direct evidence that there is a relationship between intelligence and a sense of humor, paradoxically, until recently. Of course, this seems completely obvious to many people (and even to the scientists themselves who study it) - science is simply often forced to do seemingly absurd things, since scientific methods require it, so "do not laugh at scientists," Markov advises, they and they themselves are well aware that they are proving that the earth is round.


To test whether a sense of humor depends on intelligence, psychologists from the United States conducted an experiment with 185 student volunteers. To begin with, students were tested for intelligence (using the Raven test), and then passed the Big Five test, during which psychologists determined the level of five qualities of each of the participants: openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, pleasantness in communication and neuroticism. After that, the students completed three tasks, during which they "tested" different aspects of their sense of humor. Students were shown a photograph of a stranger and they had to fill out a comic questionnaire on his behalf. The questionnaire contained the following items: "profession", "about me", "hobbies / hobbies", "my typical day", "my philosophy of life." Then the students were waiting for the next task, during which they had to come up with the most ridiculous answers to the questions: “If you could be in the skin of some animal for a while, what kind of animal would you not want to become and why?”; "How to make family life exciting after the first two years?" and "What will happen to the world in a hundred years?"The last task was to determine the "level" of non-verbal humor of the volunteers, who were required to draw funny images of animals (monkey, octopus, giraffe and penguin) and people (professor, politician, bodybuilder and artist).

The "level" of humor was assessed by the jury, which consisted of 28 students. Of course, the assessment was carried out anonymously, none of the jury members knew who painted this or that portrait or invented this or that phrase. In general, the jury's scores were low, but there were certain patterns in the way they were distributed. It turned out that the most strongly the sense of humor depends precisely on the intellect. Extroversion correlates weaker with a sense of humor. The rest of the personality traits do not depend on the sense of humor, judging by the marks given by the jury. This experiment also confirmed the findings of other studies that men, on average, joke funnier than women. This is understandable, since humor has more advantages for men than for women when choosing a marriage partner. On the other hand, the positive correlation between intelligence and sense of humor in girls was even stronger than in boys, despite the fact that the former were generally less successful in joking.

Thus, the sense of humor is still likely to depend on intelligence, moreover, in both sexes. Therefore, people (as mentioned above, more often women) are so fond of those who have developed a good sense of humor and try to choose a marriage partner with this quality. But a sense of humor is only an indirect sign that a person is all right with his intellect, therefore, perhaps it can be called a kind of "PR action", a peacock's tail, with which you can send a signal (most often, it comes from men) potential partner: "Look how smart I am!"

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