Honors Projects


In his book, The Mating Mind, evolutionary psychologist, Geoffrey Miller, argues that women and men are differentially attracted to mate characteristics due to their adaptive qualities. Specifically, Miller argues that women find men who are intelligent to be desirable, in part, because intelligence is a signal of a healthy brain. A healthy brain is a desirable mate characteristic over the course of evolutionary history, in part, because it would have enabled men to provide resources for his mate and his family, thus, allowing the female to pass on her genes. Similarly, men find females who are physically attractive to be desirable, in part, because it signals reproductive capacity. High reproductive capacity is a quality that indicates that the desired mate would aid the individual in passing on his genes. While there are numerous documented mate preferences for characteristics such as intelligence and physical attractiveness the characteristic of humor has largely been ignored. However, the small body of literature that exists on humor focuses on looking at the sex differences in preferences for humor. Specifically, while research indicates that both men and women prefer a partner with a good sense of humor, interestingly, when questioned more specifically, the research suggests that men prefer a women who are receptive to their humor, not necessarily who make them laugh. On the other hand, women prefer men who produce humor. The aim of the current research is to test if the documented preference for humor production among women and humor receptivity among men correlate with women’s and men’s relationship satisfaction. Furthermore, the current research investigates the possibility that humor is a preferred mate characteristic due to its ability to reduce relational conflict and facilitate conflict resolution skills.





First Advisor

Anne K. Gordon

First Advisor Department


Second Advisor

Lisa Hanasono

Second Advisor Department


Publication Date

Spring 4-15-2016