Are men funnier than women, or do we just think they are?

Hooper, Jade and Sharpe, Donald and Roberts, Sam George Bradley (2016) Are men funnier than women, or do we just think they are? Translational Issues in Psychological Science, 2 (1). pp. 54-62.

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Despite the widely held view that men are funnier than women, research supporting this view is inconsistent. Instead, the view that men are funnier than women may be a stereotype rather than a reflection of real differences in humor. Considering a previously found source memory bias in the attribution of funnier captions to men and less funny captions to women, this stereotype may be working to perpetuate this view. The current study aims to investigate this possible stereotype and an attribution bias arising from such. College students (N = 228) from 3 countries (Britain, Canada, and Australia) rated the funniness of male- and female-authored cartoon captions while blind to the gender of the caption authors. Participants were then asked to guess the gender of the caption authors and which gender they believe to be the funniest. Participants both male and female in the Canadian and British samples believed men are the funniest gender, whereas participants in the Australian sample were split between men as funnier or the genders as equally funny. No difference was found between funniness ratings of male- and female-authored captions for the Canadian and Australian samples. The British sample rated female-authored captions as funnier. Support was found for a bias in attributing male authorship to the funniest cartoon captions and female authorship to the least funny for all countries. This stereotype may be self-fulfilling in nature, and additional mechanisms maintaining this stereotype are proposed.

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Journal Article
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Translational Issues in Psychological Science
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13 Jul 2023 13:25
Last Modified:
15 Jul 2024 23:57