Over 500,000 people visited Farnam Street last month to learn how to make better decisions, create new ideas, and avoid stupid errors. With more than 100,000 subscribers to our popular weekly digest, we've become an online intellectual hub. To learn more about what we do, start here.

Go ahead, laugh

The main ingredient for laughter is not actual comedy but the social setting. People tend to laugh about 30 times more when they are in a social situation versus just by themselves (Provine & Fischer, 1989). When alone, people are more likely to talk to themselves and even smile than laugh.

There are also gender differences in laughter, as females laugh 126% more than males in social situations. The more a female laughs during an encounter, the higher her self-reported interest in male whom she was conversing with tends to be (Grammer & Eibl-Eibesfeldt, 1990). Males also report greater interest in females who were laughing during their presence. It is the laughter of the female that is most predictive of a relationship.

The type of laughter also matters, as voiced laughs leave a more positive impression on people than unvoiced laughs or pants. Females seek males that have a good sense of humor in an ideal mate while males tend to advertize having a good sense of humor (Provine, 2000). The kind of males that females are looking for are not giggling guys, but males that will make them laugh, hopefully dominant males. So next time when you are in a social gathering, observing just the laugh patterns will allow you to figure out who is interested in who as females will laugh the most in the presence of males that they find most attractive (Provine, 2004).

Continue Reading

Filed Under: