An Examination of the Relationship Between Gender Identity and Humor Preference
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Studies examining sex differences in humor appreciation and production found that men tend to desire a partner who laughs at their jokes, while women prefer a partner who makes them laugh (Bressler, Martin, & Balshine, 2006). Miller (2000) suggests that these humor preferences have both evolved via sexual selection, such that humor production is a marker for genetic quality in men, and receptivity towards humor is a sign of sexual interest in women. However, less is known about how factors such as androgyny affect humor preferences. This study examined the effects of biological sex and gender identity on humor production and receptivity using The Bem-Sex Role Inventory (BSRI; Bem, 1974). Participants scoring as more masculine were hypothesized to show a higher preference for receptivity of humor in potential mates, while those higher in feminine qualities were predicted to show greater preference for humor production. Results revealed that individual Bem scores were not associated with importance of humor production or appreciation, indicating that a relationship between gender identity and humor preferences may not exist. Biological sex was found to be significantly related to humor preference in that women were shown to value both the production and receptivity of humor more so than males, suggesting that the way men and women value and use humor may be changing.